Although Facebook accounts for one in every six page views in Australia and decimates its social-media rivals in terms of total visits, Australians appear to be getting bored of it, spending less time on the site over the past year and paving the way for sites like Tumblr and Google+ to fill in the gaps, according to research from Experian Hitwise.
(Credit: Experian Hitwise)
The data examined 3 million Australian internet users and their interactions with 1 million websites over a 12-month period, from January 2011-12. The data shows that Facebook and YouTube continued to dominate the social-networking arena, with Facebook taking up just over 50 per cent of all social-networking traffic. YouTube's desktop site accounted for about 23 per cent of traffic, but its mobile version, the third most popular social-networking site, came in at just over 2 per cent.
Australians also appeared uninterested in Twitter, as it did not even make it into the top five social-networking sites. It lagged behind Tumblr and Yahoo Answers, which stole 1.65 per cent and 1.28 per cent of market share, respectively.
On the search-engine side, Google continued to take up the majority of the market. The Australian version of the search engine accounted for about 78 per cent of all search-related traffic, while the US version took about 9 per cent of market share. Bing, Yahoo and Ask took the remaining places in the top five, with 4.2, 1.8 and 0.7 per cent of traffic, respectively.
However, when examining what sites Australians have been spending time on, the data tells a different story.
Experian noted that while Tumblr sits in fourth place in terms of social-network popularity, it held readers' interest for the longest — about 30 minutes. It outpaced Facebook users' attention span of about 22 minutes, as well as its nearest competitor, YouTube desktop, which held Australian users' gazes for just over 20 minutes.
Google Australia took up a little under 17 minutes of users' attention, with Experian suggesting that it may be because many Australians tend to leave the search window open as they browse the web and refine or update their search as they go.
While Google has maintained a fairly steady audience, with visit times increasing by about 2 per cent in the past year, Australians have begun to spend less and less time on Facebook, down about 21 per cent from last year.
Experian general manager marketing services Matt Glasner offered a caveat, however, about attempting to compare the two.
"While it's clear that Facebook is the dominant player when it comes to total website visits in Australia, comparing Facebook's performance with Google is difficult, because the two sites are so different. One is social, the other is pure search. The real question is what this means for search and social, which is where sites like Google+ become even more intriguing," he said.
"As Google seeks to make search more personally relevant to specific users by integrating its social assets, this could have a marked shift on overall web-traffic rankings in Australia."
But Glasner is hesitant to suggest that Google+ might become a Facebook killer anytime soon.
"It's too early to tell, but [the trend is] certainly one to watch, and brands will do well to pay close attention to their social-media marketing to ensure visitors can click and share content as easily as possible."