Paid Search Down, Social Media Up in the UK

    April 22, 2009
    Chris Crum

Research from Hitwise indicates that online retailers in the UK are seeing less traffic from paid search efforts and more from social networks. Paid search traffic has fallen over the last year – the percentage of all UK Internet visits to online retailers dropped from 10.1% in March ’08 to 8.9% in March ’09 according to Hitwise’s Robin Goad.

Hitwise - Paid Search Traffic

Based on the above chart, it looks like paid search traffic in general has fallen significantly. Goad does note that search engines are still the primary source of traffic for nearly all online retailers. It’s just that the paid listings seem to be having a decreasing effect.

Meanwhile, the amount of traffic sites that fall under Hitwise’s Shopping and Classifies category get from social networking sites has increased from 5.2% in March ’08 to 7.1% in March ’09. Furthermore, social networks are accounting for 58% more traffic than webmail providers like Hotmail, Gmail, and Yahoo Mail.

Hitwise - Social Traffic

All the more reason to integrate social media into your email marketing campaigns I would say. A recent study on that showed that while only 13% of email marketers are integrating social media into their campaigns, 46% of them intend to do so this year.

The data from Hitwise lends another piece of supporting data indicating that sites like Facebook may cut significantly into the advertising revenue of sites like Google. It’ll be interesting to see the numbers in another year.