It’s rare that anyone can successfully shove the big G out of the way, but in the battle of online news eyeballs, another giant is stepping in.
Web Analyst company HitWise employee Heather Hopkins posted a blog saying that Facebook had been gaining ground on Google Reader and Google News in driving traffic back to news sites. According to her data, Google Reader accounted for .01% of upstream visits to news/media websites last week, Google News accounted for 1.39% of visits and Facebook 3.52%.
Facebook is already encouraging news entities to set up feeds, almost emulating many of the sites’ activity on Twitter, so we could probably see more of that in the future as news sites struggle to readjust their revenue streams and gain traffic, and use good social media tactics to build their brands.
What this also points to is users’ use of Facebook to relate stories they find interesting or relevant to their ever-growing circle of online contacts. It shows that news is becoming a more individualized product than ever, and that, as common sense dictates, you’re going to read something if someone you know recommends it. Google’s products lack any kind of personalized feature set, and with more media bomarding people all the time, it might take a personal recommendation from a friend to get an article noticed.
I would expect this to continue in the future, as Facebook continues to gain new users and news brands continue expanding their online sphere. Hopefully Facebook will begin to take notice of this new data and add more news-oriented features for users.