Hitwise has an interesting data point out today about Facebook traffic: On Christmas Even and Christmas day, Facebook was for the first time ever the most visited site in the United States.
Today’s stats aren’t too surprising.
The web measurement firm reported a massive Christmas spike in Facebook traffic a year ago, as well, although Facebook was not the number one site then. However, it has grown from 42 million monthly active US users to 100 million in the past year, according to the numbers the company reports in its advertising tools. And, earlier this month, Hitwise also reported that Facebook had become the number one search term in the US in the past year.
And, while Facebook has grown from less than 150 million to 350 million monthly active users in the past year, worldwide, Hitwise is reporting that in the UK, Google is still number one. Check out the graph below for more on that.
We’ve asked Hitwise for a graph to illustrate its latest US numbers. In the meantime, judging from the one the company published last year, as well as the UK one this year, the site probably saw a massive spike in US traffic for the holiday — which is how it reached number one over Google et al.
Anyway, clearly a broad swath of people are checking Facebook during Christmas. Given the rapid growth the service has seen among all demographics in the past year, Facebook is becoming more than ever a key way for friends and family to stay in touch with each other if they could not be together in person.
Another, quite interesting piece of data about that: many popular social games and other applications actually saw their numbers drop on Christmas. It may be that users preferred to use photo albums, status updates, notes and other utility-based features for sharing with each other, rather than playing games together.