Facebook became the most visited site in the U.S. for the first time during Christmas, topping Google, according to research firm Hitwise. On Christmas Day, Facebook attracted 7.81 percent of U.S. web traffic, compared to 7.51 percent for Google. On Christmas Eve it was 7.56% for Facebook and 7.54% for Google. The social networking site has historically gotten a traffic spike during the holidays. (Hitwise reported that it reached an earlier all-time high on Christmas last year too.)
Still, it’s got to be a bit emboldening for the company, which sees itself as a solution for brand advertising online. While Google has nailed search advertising, or ads that are close to the point of purchase and require an action, Facebook sees itself as key to demand generation and ads that influence consumers earlier on in the buying cycle. This, by the way, is a market they estimate to be more than 10 times the size of the search ad market, according to conversations we had with the company earlier this year.
To tap that market and prove itself to large brands, Facebook needs to prove traffic and engagement. Facebook has more than doubled in size this year, surpassing 350 million users. Hitwise reported two weeks ago that Facebook was the third most visited site this year, up from ninth place in 2008. Some of Facebook’s own statistics are even scarier: the average user spends 55 minutes a day on the site.
We’ve included a bizarre Zuckerberg celebratory dance posted to YouTube below.
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