Facebook has dislodged Google as the top source for online news traffic according to the latest research to be undertaken by analytics firm Parse.ly.
This showed the ubiquitous personal networking platform to have overtaken the search provider as the dominant traffic source for news websites, highlighting the growing power of social media to drive traffic.
Estimates for all social media sources show that the sector accounted for 43 per cent of all referrals with Facebook accounting for the vast bulk of these, Google meanwhile accounted for just 38 per cent.
The survey took more than 400 news and media outlets into consideration, from traditional publishers such as Wired, Reuters and The Daily Telegraph to digital only portals such as Mashable and The Next Web which amass 6bn page views and more than one billion unique visitors each month.
Parse.ly’s chief technical officer Andrew Montalent said: “There’s a lot of effort among media companies being placed on specific social channels like Twitter, but our data shows that Twitter is basically a distant traffic source.
“That’s unfortunate because Facebook is a lot less transparent around things like how the algorithm functions. There’s a lot more useful data from Twitter about their content, but FB is more like a black box in terms of how it operates. And yet it’s this huge and growing traffic source.”
Facebook’s accomplishment follows a period of ‘continued growth’ since October, when it briefly inched ahead of Google in a near neck and neck race but since that time Google has flat lined, allowing Facebook to open up a clear lead.