First of all it’s worth noting that Hitwise only compared Facebook with Google Search… So Facebook didn’t really surpass Google, if you read the fine print. All of Google’s sites counted together (including sites like YouTube, Blogger, etc), would still crush Facebook in terms of sheer traffic.
Still, it’s an interesting trend to examine. Facebook has managed to amass users like no other social network before it. It’s like the Roman Empire of social networks, so how is it doing when it comes to conquering the world? And how is it doing compared to Google?
Facebook’s traffic rank in the top 20 countries
We made a list of the top 20 countries in terms of internet users, checking the traffic rank of Facebook for each one.
While we went through the data we also made sure to note what site was number one in each country, as well as the traffic rank of Google. We even threw in Twitter while we were at it, just because.
For the traffic rank, we used data from Alexa, not Hitwise, for the simple reason that Alexa data is readily available, including top lists for all countries. This means there will be some deviation from numbers reported by Hitwise. For example, Alexa still ranks Google.com as the number one site in the US, but it should still give us a decent indication of how these sites are doing.
|Country||Internet users||Facebook’s pos||Twitter’s pos||Google’s pos||Site at #1|
|China||360,000,000||Not in top 500||371||3||baidu.com|
|Iran||32,200,000||58||Not in top 500||1||google.com|
Above: The top 20 countries in terms of internet users, plus worldwide results.
Facebook vs. Google, an uneven fight
A Google site is number one in 14 out the top 20 countries on the internet. Facebook is number one in two. Although Facebook’s rankings are mostly strong, they are still far behind Google.
And keep in mind that these listings don’t aggregate all Google sites. Google have their web properties spread out all over the place. For example, YouTube is the 4th most popular site in the world, and Blogger the 7th most popular, not to mention all the country-specific versions of Google. Facebook and Twitter, however, don’t suffer from the same division of their rankings.
One area Facebook seems to have conquered almost completely is Southeast Asia. Not only is it the most popular site in the Philippines and Indonesia, it’s also number one in Malaysia and Singapore (we checked). This region was the last stronghold of the social network site Friendster (remember them?), so this is probably bad news for Friendster.
Facebook vs. Twitter, another uneven fight
As we have pointed out in the past, while Twitter has been growing like crazy, they’re still not anywhere near the size of Facebook, and these country rankings confirm this from yet another perspective.
Japan is the exception, though. In Japan, Twitter is significantly more popular than Facebook. It’s the only country of the top 20 where Twitter beats Facebook, although they’re pretty close in Brazil as well.
Then there is another thing to consider here. This list includes two countries, China and Iran, which have made themselves known for either permanently or occasionally blocking access to social media sites, more specifically Twitter and Facebook. Their rankings in these two countries will therefore be pretty lousy, which of course isn’t entirely fair.
Even if Facebook got beaten by Google by a good margin in this survey, this is hardly a setback for them. The massive user base Facebook has gathered in just a few years is nothing short of amazing. Remember, they have only been around since 2004. Google, on the other hand, has had since 1998 to build their empire (and they are indeed huge).