For the fourth year running, online consumers searched for “Facebook” more than any other term in 2012, according to new data from Experian.
Even more impressive, “Facebook” queries accounted for 4.1% of all searches this year, which represented a 33% increase year-over-year.
Facebook’s popularity among searchers makes two things clear to Bill Tancer, general manager of global research for Experian Marketing Services. The social network remains top-of-mind for many consumers, and consumers continue to use search as a navigational tool.
“Navigational searches continue to dominate the top search results, as users continue to visit their favorite sites via search engines instead of directly entering a Web address into their browser's URL bar,” according to Tancer.
More broadly, analysis of 2012’s most popular search terms shows that social networking-related terms dominated the results. They accounted for 6% of the top 50 searches -- an increase of 44% compared with 2011.
New to the top 50 in 2012 backpage were search terms like “cool math games,” “fox news,” “pinterest,” and “pof” -- apparently an acronym for Plenty of Fish, a fast-rising online dating site.
“Single-word searches grew 16% in 2012, as a result of continued reliance on search engines' suggested results,” Tancer notes. “Other top 2012 searches reflected the ongoing
infatuation with celebrities online.”
Also big in 2012, YouTube terms accounted for 1.6%, representing a 23% increase compared with 2011. Google terms (including YouTube) accounted for 1.9%, which represented an increase of 20% year-over-year. Yahoo terms accounted for 0.79%, which amounted to an increase of 34% year-over-year.
Experian bases its findings on the top 1,000 unfiltered U.S. search terms across more than 60 search engines, including Google, Bing and Yahoo Search, along with all visits to top Web sites throughout the year.