Social media becomes largest online activity

Social networking has overtaken entertainment as the most popular online activity in the UK.

According to figures from Experian Hitwise, social networks received 2.4bn visits during January 2011, which accounts for 12.4% of all UK internet visits. Entertainment sites accounted for 12.1%.

Facebook dominates site visits, boasting 56% of all traffic to social networks, but Hitwise said people were rarely regular users of just one social media site.

Search is still the biggest driver of traffic for transactional sites, accounting for 33% of all traffic in that category.

Social networks originate 13% of traffic to other sites, with the biggest receiver of traffic from social networks being news and entertainment sites.

Robin Goad, research director of Experian Hitwise, said, “Transactional sites still rely primarily on search for their traffic and therefore sales. Successful transactional websites will be those that learn to harness the power of social networks, driving traffic through to their own sites.”

Experian Hitwise also revealed that the amount of time spent on social media sites has increased, with the average session time hitting 22 minutes.

Michał Domarus

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