January data just went live on compete.com, and perhaps the biggest story to hit the airwaves is a changing of the guard at the top of the Internet food chain. Indeed, Facebook has surged past Yahoo as the number two most popular site in the U.S., drawing nearly 134 Million Unique Visitors in January, 2010. It’s been two full years since we’ve seen a shakeup at the top — In February, 2008, Google overtook Yahoo as number one, and never looked back. Is Facebook’s next conquest the Google traffic throne?
While eyeballs are newsworthy, the real story is engagement, especially in the ongoing battle for those coveted big brand dollars. On this front, Facebook is second to none. Check out how monthly Attention (Time spent on Facebook.com as a percentage of all time spent online each month) ramps over the past year for Facebook, while both Yahoo and Google show a decrease. In January, 11.6% of all time spent online was spent on Facebook (compared to 4.25% for Yahoo and 4.1% for Google).
Can Facebook keep up the pace? Will Google’s latest Buzz rollout stand in the way? We’ll keep tabs on this in the months ahead and see how it all shakes out.