Friday, January 12, 2007

Social Media sites are taking over

It is all very well to imagine that social media is significant.

My question is: Is Social Media attracting the interest of Internet users more than traditional serach engine and consumer web sites.

I needed empirical evidence that would prove the point.

One way of doing this is to compare like for like data of page views (see note below) between differnt types of web site.

I examined data over a three year period. In this time the number of Internet users increased and home broadband penetration increased from almost zero to nearly 60% of users. This should mean that there will be a general increase across the majority of web sites.

I took information about site traffic from Alexa and looked at page views of the top 30 Alexa ranked UK sites.

This would indicate both comparative interest in these sites as well as growth of interest among Internet users.

The results are are as follows:

Page views among the sites with top ten ranked pages:

Search engines

Retail Sites

Social Media Sites

Page views among the sites with 11-20 ranked pages:

(note: there were no search engines)

Retail Sites

Social Media Sites

Page views among the sites with 21-30 ranked pages:

(note: there were no search engines)

Retail Sites

Social Media Sites

This evidence would suggest it would be interesting to see what reach these sites enjoyed comparatively and there relative Alexa rank.

My conclusion from this is that:

Social media is among the top rank of web sites of interest to Internet Users.
Social media is making considerable inroads into the pages viewed by Internet users
Search engines are not increasing their traffic in relation to the increase of Internet users.
Retailers are, mostly loosing share of page views
Social media is enjoying an exponential increase of interest.

If someone, at this late stage is looking for a dissertation subject, this one would be stunning.

Alexa Page views measure the number of pages viewed by Alexa Toolbar users. Multiple page views of the same page made by the same user on the same day are counted only once. The page views per user numbers are the average numbers of unique pages viewed per user per day by the users visiting the site. The page view rank is a ranking of all sites based solely on the total number of page views (not page views per user). The three-month changes are determined by comparing a site's current page view numbers with those from three month ago.
Page views per million indicates what fraction of all the page views by toolbar users go to a particular site. For example, if has 70,000 page views per million, this means that 7% of all page views go to If you summed the fractional page views over all sites, you would get 100% (this is not true of reach, since each user can of course visit more than one site).