Thursday, March 18, 2010

Facebook Finally Trumps Google

So what's driving Facebook's incredible traffic? Traffic monitor Hitwise, has announced that Facebook has usurped Google for the first time in the company's traffic counter for single individual days.

According to Hitwise research director Heather Dougherty in her blog, Facebook was the most visited website in the U.S. on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day as well as the weekend of March 6th and 7th. But those were just individual days. Now Facebook has officially surpassed Google in overall traffic for the week ending March 13. At least according to Hitwise.

Granted, the two offer wildly different services, but traffic is traffic. And new unique users are like gold. Facebook managed to add 100 million users between September and February, to a swelling 400 million active users. Traffic is up 185% compared with this time last year, whereas Google's traffic has risen by only 9%. Seems there are a lot of wanna-be farmers out there.

Casual gaming, or facebooking, is a driving factor in the remarkable success. Leading the tractor parade to greener pastures in the "farm with your friends" game Farmville. Gaming is the vehicle to engage, connect and disconnect from the troubles of the world.

I'm of the opinion that internet holdouts are finally seeing the light. Too many conversations at the water cooler or with family during the holidays has spiked the numbers. When family is together, they talk about life. Those not on Facebook realize they're missing out on the connectedness of family, friends and fun. Holidays are the perfect down time to hook up relatives and add them to the growing network of users. Farmville is a hook that drives traffic and entice users to give more information about themselves - deep linking them into the system in a fun way.

My dad, a reluctant professional that probably didn't trust the Web that much, joined after I posted updates and photos on Facebook after one of my son's had an accident and was in the trauma unit receiving care. We are social creatures that care about loved ones and friends. Facebook was the easiest way to get updates out to the people I cared about most.

Combine that with the popularity of mobile devices, improved newsfeeds, casual gaming, the impressive ability to connect with high-school classmates, and you can plainly see why Facebook is luring in many hard-core holdouts.