Social media have became the most popular online destination in the UK for the first time during January, according to a new report by research company Experian Hitwise.
The entertainment category was knocked into second place as social networks, including Facebook and Twitter, attracted 2.4 billion visits in the UK over the month. According to Carpe Diem – Seizing the moment in Social Media, published by Experian Hitwise today (March 16), social media accounted for 12.4% of all UK internet visits and it continues to be the fastest growing sector online. People are not only visiting sites more ofren but are also spending longer on a social network with the average session now 22 minutes.
Facebook continues to be the dominant network, accounts for 56% of all social media traffic in January, but social media users rarely just use one network. Robin Goad, research director at Experian Hitwise, said: “One in every eight people leaving a social network visits another one immediately after, something encouraged by the connections that exist between the networks. Facebook, for example, is a key source of traffic for many smaller social networks; while almost a fifth of people leaving Twitter go on to visit another social network.
But despite social networks accounting for 13% of traffic sent to other websites, they still lag behind search engines as a source of traffic to transactional sites. In January, social networks sent only 16% of traffic to transactional websites compared to 33% from search engines.
Goad added: “Transactional websites – those selling goods or services such as travel or insurance online – still rely primarily on search for their traffic and therefore sales. Successful transactional websites will be those that learn to harness the power of social networks, driving traffic through to their own websites.”
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