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Facebook Overtaking Google in News Views?

facebookIt’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.

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Written By

Chelsea is the Managing News Editor and news herder at AgentGenius.com. Her day job involves the hectic world of Austin local news (she's worked in almost all the TV newsrooms), and she takes an interest in journalism's slow collision with new technology. She has a journalism degree from the University of Texas, and has lived in Austin for all the good parts of her life.

16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. Ric Dizon

    February 5, 2010 at 1:02 am

    Chelsea, interesting post. I never thought of Facebook in this manner. But, its true. The social connection Facebook offers can cause a news feed to be shared so easily. Who wouldn’t want to read news that a friend suggest. I’ve been using Facebook as a reader too and its working.

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Joe Loomer

    February 5, 2010 at 7:44 am

    Chelsea,

    I echo what Ric said, and would add that I drive my friends to stories of interest on Facebook – including posts like this – by either personally sharing or posting to my wall. I also read certain friend’s FB posts religiously because of their relevance and our mutual interests. These posts are probably 75% links to posts and news stories – so I can certainly see how this is happening.

    Thanks for this post – I’m sharing it!

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  3. Tavia Ritter

    February 5, 2010 at 9:25 am

    I find this funny on two levels…I saw the post for this article on FaceBook on my iPhone during my ‘morning check in’, then decided to read it once I got to work, knowing it would also appear in my Google Reader.

    Track that.

  4. Bruce Dietz

    February 5, 2010 at 8:08 pm

    It’s easy to see how FaceBook would be a great avenue for newsfeeds…I am more likely to read something recommended by a friend or colleague.

  5. andy

    February 5, 2010 at 8:36 pm

    I have just read a article on inman.com/ which might be of interest.5 Facebook tips for Realtors. Its not about world news, but it explains how it can also be used in marketing and reporting news in the real estate industry. I think its worth reading as Facebook has a audience of more than 350 million people.

  6. Coy Davidson

    February 5, 2010 at 9:12 pm

    Exactly my strategy with my facebook fan page. I try to post news interesting to my target audience and with the facebook feed widget on my blog its provides a nice compliment to the content I am providing on my blog.

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