Recent reports show that Facebook has become a major source of traffic to web portals, at least in the U.S., and that sharing through Facebook status updates has become a source of news for many. But what kind of news do Facebook users prefer? Heather Hopkins, an analyst at Hitwise, presented a fascinating analysis of news preferences at Hitwise’s Experian blog.
Her analysis shows that users of Google News tend to prefer the websites of print media sources such as the NY Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post, amongst others. Facebook users, on the other hand, seem to prefer news from the websites of broadcast media such as the Weather Channel, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and others, with just a few print media sources such as People Magazine. The evidence is echoed in a graph, shown below, that shows traffic to broadcast media from both Facebook and Google News.
It’s clear from the graph that Facebook traffic to broadcast media sites has increased since Feb 2009, whereas Google News traffic to the same has decreased. That said, Facebook traffic to print media websites is also higher than from Google News to the same sites. Overall, Facebook is dominating Google as a source of U.S. web traffic to important media sites.
Also, not surprising is that the benefactor of Facebook traffic for any “news” site is The Weather Channel. That’s because Facebook is conversational, and what’s one of the most common things to discuss? The weather.