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comScore-Desktop-Traffic-Popular-SocNet-Sites-in-2013-Jan2014The December rankings of US desktop web activity have been released by comScore, and yes, Yahoo (195.2 million unique visitors) topped Google (192.3 million) for the 6th consecutive month among desktop-only visitors, although Google likely retains the larger audience when factoring in mobile counts. With the December data in the books, it’s now possible to look at the social sites among the top 50 to see how they fared throughout the year in terms of desktop visitors.

As the above chart shows, Facebook remains the leader in desktop-only visitors by a large margin, although its numbers appeared to dip slightly during the year, ending the year about 5 million short of where it began. That dip is fairly understandable given that Facebook is transitioning to a more mobile-reliant network. Twitter, which also has a strong contingent of mobile users, held relatively steady in desktop-only counts during the year, finishing strong in December, while LinkedIn looked to be increasing its count mid-year before tailing off at the end.

The dynamics for the other 2 networks in the chart are quite interesting. The biggest change was obviously seen by Tumblr, which began the year behind Pinterest but finished almost 6 million unique visitors ahead, even enjoying more visitors than Twitter in July. But its growth appeared only earlier in the year, and has since subsided. Even so, aside from Twitter’s very marginal gain (which was entirely the result of a jump in visitors in December), Tumblr was the only platform of the 5 to finish the year on a more solid footing than it began. For its part, Pinterest saw a small decline in the number of desktop visitors during the year, at one point threatening to fall out of the top 50 properties altogether.

Here’s the same chart as above, this time limited to only Pinterest and Tumblr:

comScore-Desktop-Traffic-Pinterest-Tumblr-in-2013-Jan2014

Of course, it’s worth noting again that these are only desktop counts, so they are not representative of the overall popularity of these social networks. It’s true that many of these counts would be significantly influenced by the inclusion of the mobile audience. March data from comScore, for example, shows that Twitter and Pinterest profit far more from the inclusion of mobile audience counts than LinkedIn. So the decline in unique visitor counts for these platforms (and Facebook) may owe more to rising mobile traffic than to a decrease in popularity, with LinkedIn comparatively less reliant on mobile. As for Tumblr? According to this account from Forbes, which quotes a Tumblr spokeswoman, “1 in 2 active users access Tumblr content through the mobile app.”

Nevertheless, all of the social media sites above receive close to as many – if not more – visitors from desktops than smartphones and tablets, making it worthwhile to check in on how those desktop counts progressed throughout the year.

Other Findings:

  • Not surprisingly, retail site categories accounted for 5 of the top 10 gaining categories in December. Shipping sites had the largest influx (34%) on a month-over-month basis.
  • Microsoft, Facebook and AOL retained their positions as the 3rd, 4th, and 5th-ranked web properties (desktop-only), respectively, in December.
  • AddThis maintained its position atop the ad focus entity rankings in December, with 97.8% reach among online Americans, ahead of ShareThis (91.4%) and Yahoo Sites (87.1%).
  • Google Ad Network was again the top ad or buy side network, with 95% reach.
  • Among DSP/SSP/ad exchange entities, Rubicon Project was again on top, with 96.4% reach.

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