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Peter Yared is the CTO/CIO of CBS Interactive, a top ten Internet destination, and was previously the founder and CEO of four enterprise infrastructure companies that were acquired by Sun, VMware, Webtrends and TigerLogic. Peter's software has powered brands from Fidelity to Home Depot to Lady Gaga. At Sun, Peter was the CTO of the Application Server Division and the CTO of the Liberty federated identity consortium. Peter is the inventor of several patents on core Internet infrastructure including federated single sign on and dynamic data requests. Peter began programming games and utilities at age 10, and started his career developing systems for government agencies. Peter regularly writes about technology trends and has written for CNET, the Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek, AdWeek, VentureBeat and TechCrunch.

Many thanks to Bob Pulgino, Dave Prue, Steve Zocchi and Jean-Louis Gassée for mentoring me over the years.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Share Beats Search: More Hits from Facebook than Google

A monumental shift in web traffic happened over the holiday season. Sites ranging from gossip such as PerezHilton.com to live streaming such as UStream.com suddenly began getting more of their traffic coming from Facebook than from Google.

As reported in HitWise, last week PerezHilton.com had 8.7% of its visits from Facebook vs. 7.62% from Google. PerezHilton.com is a very popular site that recently scored its best traffic day ever in late February with 13.9 million page views.

Content sites have spent billions of dollars — $12.2 billion in 2008 according to a recent eMarkerter report — on search engine optimization and search engine marketing in order to get traffic from Google and the other search sites. Yet organic traffic from Facebook is beating hits from Google.

Why? The answer is pretty simple. It’s the same driving force that’s behind so much of social media. You are much more likely to click on a link that your friend recommends than you are to trust the arbitrary data that Google churns out in response to your search.

I have written often that social networks like Facebook and MySpace are the best route for content publishers to monetize their content. But even I am surprised at how rapidly this transition has occurred.

With only nascent investment in social media, publishers are already seeing better traffic from Facebook than from Google. Soon the SEM/SEO spend will start to follow the eyeballs and transition from Google to social media.

Smart social media campaigns are a much more efficient use of marketing dollars since it takes the potential that obviously exists in a friend’s recommendation and turns it into something lively and unique — breaking the mold of boring search ads and easy-to-ignore banners and entering the world of social syndication.

--- This morning NewTeeVee wrote about the same thing, I brought the HitWise report up at their Beet.TV roundtable earlier this week.

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