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October 12, 2011

Facebook grows after seasonal decline: study

YouTube loses market share for first time in 2011, Experian Hitwise reveals in latest UK search engine and social analysis

By CBR Staff Writer

After a dip in performance in July and August, social networking site Facebook has bounced back, increasing its market share of visits by 3.08% , within the Social Networking and Forums category data in September 2011, according to Experian Hitwise.

Facebook took nearly 52% of all visits to social networking sites last month, said Experian Hitwise.

The company said that YouTube lost market share for the first time in 2011, having consistently been the fast growing social network for the last 6 months. Twitter also suffered a market share loss, falling from 3.87 to 3.40%.

However, it was Google sites that saw the biggest growth in market share of searches in September, up by 0.14% since August – Google sites accounted for 91.34% of all UK internet searches in the UK in September, said Experian Hitwise.

The company also said that since October is the second biggest peak month for social media traffic, brands need to maximise their social media strategy this month in the ramp-up to Christmas.

According to competitive intelligence experts at Experian Hitwise, social media usage is usually at its highest in the final quarter of the year, with peaks in October and December.

Experian Hitwise Marketing Research Analyst James Murray said, "December is always the biggest month of the year for social media usage, but our seasonal trend data shows that October is the second busiest month of the year."

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"Brands need to start capitalising on this traffic and increased usage now in order to ensure that the impact of their social interaction will carry through to the crucial Christmas sales period."

Murray said, "With the summer holiday season now over, Facebook has bounced back to take nearly 52 per cent of all visits to social networking sites. Social media as a whole experiences a dry patch during July and August, but September always kick starts usage again with students starting university terms, kids going back to school, and the working population returning from holiday."

Murray added, "Google, the UK’s most popular search engine, is incredibly resilient having maintained over 90 per cent of all UK searches for the last five years despite its fluctuating market share. Microsoft experienced a slight decline in searches this month, but the year-on-year figures are encouraging as bing edges closer to controlling 4 per cent of the UK search market."

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