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March 17, 2011

Brits now prefer social networking to entertainment sites

by Darren Allan

It’s official – well, it’s official according to the latest figures from Experian Hitwise. Social network sites are now the most popular online destination for UK surfers.

Previously, entertainment sites such as the iPlayer or Sky Sports have held the biggest market share of web visitors, but in January, the social networks overtook them for the first time.

During January, social networks experienced over 2.4 billion visits, accounting for 12.46%, almost exactly an eighth, of all UK Internet visits. Entertainment sites dropped to 12.18%.

Unsurprisingly, social media is the fastest growing sector online, particularly Facebook which recently announced that 30 million – half of the UK’s population – is now signed up to the site. Facebook accounted for the majority (56%) of those 2.4 billion visits.

Session length on social networking sites is also increasing, with the average session in January being 22 minutes.

Experian Hitwise noted that social networks send a lot of traffic each others’ way, with many folks being members of multiple networks. However, news and entertainment websites also get a good deal of hits from social networks, in fact, they’re the biggest recipient of traffic from the likes of Facebook and Twitter.

That works both ways, of course, as a lot of activity on social networks now comes from folks sharing content from entertainment sites.

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