Facebook the Year’s Top Search Term, Most Visited Website

December 21, 2012

This article is included in these additional categories:

Analytics, Automated & MarTech | Data-driven | Digital | Paid Search | Search Engine Optimization | Social Media

Experian-Top-10-Search-Terms-Websites-in-2012-Dec2012“Facebook” was the top search term in the US this year, accounting for 4.1% of all searches, representing a 33% increase from 2011, according to an analysis of the year’s top 1,000 search terms by Experian Hitwise. Four variations of the popular social networking site were among the top 10 terms, accounting for 5.6% of searches overall, a 27% increase from 2011. This year marks the 7th straight year that a social network search term has topped the list, and the 4th consecutive year that Facebook has been the leading search term.

When combined, the common search terms for Facebook, such as “facebook” and “facebook.com,” accounted for roughly 5.8% of all searches in the US among the top 50 search terms, representing a 27% increase from 2011.

YouTube Keeps Second Spot; Craigslist Moves Into Third

Among the top 10 search terms, “youtube” remained in the second spot for the second year running. YouTube terms accounted for 1.67% of all searches in the US among the top 50 terms, marking a 27% rise from last year, while Google terms (including YouTube) accounted for 1.91%, up 20% from 2011.

“Craigslist” moved past “facebook login” to become the third most-searched term for the year, with “facebook.com” remaining in the fifth spot. The sixth through ninth positions remained the same as last year (“yahoo,” “ebay,” “www.facebook.com,” and “mapquest”) while “amazon” moved into the top 10 for the first time, bumping out “yahoo.com.” Still, Yahoo terms accounted for 0.69% of all searches in the top 50 terms, up 34% from last year.

All told, social networking-related terms dominated the results, accounting for about 6% of the top 50 searches, an increase of 44% compared to last year. The top 50 search terms accounted for more than 12% of all internet searches this year, a 30% rise from last year. New terms entering the top 50 included: “backpage;” “cool math games;” “fox news;” and “pinterest.”

Experian: Facebook Most Visited Website. Nielsen: Not So Fast

According to Experian, Facebook was the top-visited website for the third year, with 79.1 billion total US visits between January and November, edging Google with 78.5 billion. Both retained their positions from 2011, as did third-ranked YouTube, with 25.9 billion.

Still, new data from Nielsen puts a different spin on things. Looking at unique visitors, Nielsen puts Google ahead of Facebook, with average monthly unique audiences of 172.65 million and 153 million, respectively. The Nielsen analysis, which is based on data from January through October 2012, also puts Yahoo! (141.58 million) ahead of YouTube (128.34 million), while Experian’s analysis of total visits has Yahoo! in the 5th spot behind Yahoo! Mail. (Combining these properties, as Nielsen may have in its analysis, would vault Yahoo! past YouTube in the rankings.)

Overall, Experian reveals that the top 10 websites accounted for 276.3 billion total US visits, or 32% of all visits.

Other Findings:

  • According to Experian, single-word searches increased 16% this year.
  • Whitney Houston was the 196th most popular search term in the US and the most popular public figure search. Recent data from Google reveals that Whitney Houston was the top trending search term on the search engine for this year.
  • The top searched-for artist or band was One Direction, followed by Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber. One Direction was also the most-searched for image on Google.
  • Disney World was the top-searched for branded destination for the second year running.
  • American Idol topped the list of most-searched primetime TV shows. It was the most-searched for show on both Google and Bing.
  • The top searched-for athletes were Tiger Woods, Tim Tebow and Peyton Manning. The top searched-for sports team was the Dallas Cowboys, again.
  • The top non-celebrity search topic among news and media sites was Hurricane Sandy. Hurricane Sandy was the top trending event on Google around the world and in the US.
  • More of Experian’s results can be found at its online trends page.
  • In other results from Nielsen, YouTube was easily the top online destination for video, followed by Yahoo!, and VEVO. A list of the top destinations for November, courtesy of comScore, can be found here.
  • Google Search, Gmail, and Facebook were the top 3 Android applications of the year. The top iPhone apps were Maps, Facebook, and YouTube.

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