Prompted by recent headlines about declines in Facebook market share and Google’s sponsored clicks, a couple of blog posts by Hitwise analysts Heather Dougherty and Bill Tancer take a look at the sites’ traffic data.
Facebook has growth considerably in the last two years, with its market share of visits having reached the highest point in the week ended Dec. 29, 2007, but two months later, visits are down 27% from the peak, according to Dougherty.
She ascribes that decline in part to the shift toward older demographics (who tend to spend less time online) and college school-year seasonality – students are away at school – with spikes in Facebook traffic during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, when they’re back home.
Nevertheless, average time spent on Facebook continues to increase unabated, according to Hitwise’s data. It stands at 21 minutes, 22 seconds (for the week ended Feb. 23) – 73% more than a year earlier.
With reports that Google’s paid search clicks down in January, there should be a drop in the amount of traffic from Google to retail sites, says Hitwise’s Tancer, who points out, however, that percentage of such traffic has been increasing:
“If we focus in on daily data (year-over-year comparison) we see that Google traffic to retail is also up on a daily basis when we compare January/February 2007 with 2008,” he adds.