A Closer Look at Facebook’s High-Traffic Christmas

Web measurement firm Experian Hitwise said in a brief note this week that Facebook was, for the first time ever, the most trafficked site in the United States on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day last week.

We followed up with the company to get more details on what this exactly looked like. Here’s the graph it provided:

Google, overall, still got the largest share of US internet visits last week; while it also saw a holiday lift, the increase was not nearly as great as Facebook’s.

Hitwise also sent over a table showing Facebook’s unique visits each day last week. Christmas Even, Christmas day and the day after all gained substantially more new visits than previous days. Perhaps families were telling each other to join — or at least use — the service during those days. Overall, according to Hitwise’s Matt Tatham, traffic to Facebook rose 10 percent over the course of last week.

Meanwhile, many of the largest third-party applications actually saw drops around Christmas day. As we surmised earlier this week, the reason for this could have been that the people who were visiting Facebook during these days were busy looking at photo albums, updating their status, commenting on their friends and family’s Walls, and using other core parts of the site to share information with their loved ones instead of amusing themselves with games and other apps.

However, at least one app saw a massive surge around Christmas, too: Facebook’s iPhone app. Usage was possibly driven by many new owners of iPhones and iPod Touches going and downloading the app from the iTunes App Store.

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