In what is probably a surprise to nobody who uses the Internet with any kind of regularity, Google was the most visited U.S. web brand in 2011. As reported by Nielsen earlier today, the search engine juggernaut maintained an average of 153.4 million unique visitors per month in 2011 while Facebook, the second top-ranked web brand, attracted 137.6 million unique visitors each month.
If it’s any consolation to Facebook, they obliterated all other social networks and blogs this year. Blogger, Google’s blogging service, was a distant second to Facebook’s top-ranked social networking site with 45.7 unique visitors per month. Twitter trailed even further behind the two online services with 23.5 million unique visitors followed by another blogging service, WordPress.com, at 20.3 million unique visitors. One telling detail of this data about social networks is that Myspace.com – Myspace! – was the fifth top ranked social network/blog in 2011 with 17.9 million visitors – over twice as many unique visitors as Google+. Really, Google+, you couldn’t even keep up with Myspace? While Google may be the top web brand in the country this year, they’ve still got some distance to cover in the social networking arena.
Also, there’s this report from CNET earlier today that says that Google+ surpassed 62 million users. Something isn’t adding up. Granted, the CNET report says that a quarter of all Google+ users joined in December and the Nielsen data doesn’t include December, but that’s still a huge discrepancy in these numbers. Maybe Google’s fudging their numbers by synchronizing Google+ with Gmail accounts so that they can include Gmail users as Google+ stats. I mean, I technically am a Google+ user because I use Gmail but that doesn’t mean I actually use Google+ for anything. I don’t see how else these numbers can be so starkly different.
Google shouldn’t hold its gigantic G-shaped head too low, though, because they also dominated among online video providers this year. YouTube, Google’s video service, attracted 111.1 million unique visitors this past year. The closest any other video service came to that number was VEVO, who attracted 34.5 million viewers. One notable stat in this data set is that Netflix took the Elevator of Winning all the way down to the Basement of Losing because they eked into the last spot on this list with 7.4 million. They’re probably lucky they even showed up on this list after spending their totally fubar summer trying their very best not to admit to everyone, “Hey, look okay, we have no idea what we’re doing!” Given that the DVD and streaming service is now split and nobody really wants to pay twice as much for both services now, I bet Netflix doesn’t even show up on this list next year.
It’s probably a moot question to ask at this point, but is anyone even surprised by these rankings? When was the last time anyone even logged into a Myspace account? Watch this space this time next year to find out what 2012 does to shake up the hierarchy of online media titans.