Top 10 web brands get half of UK traffic

The top ten websites, lead by Facebook, gobble up half of UK surfers' internet time, according to new research.

The top ten websites take up 45 per cent of users' internet time, the report from Nielsen Online found and increase of three per cent from the previous year.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the top site was Facebook. One of every eight minutes surfers spent online was on that social networking site. The second most visited site was Microsoft's Windows Live, which includes its email service Hotmail.

"Between just the two of them, the two most heavily used web brands - Facebook and MSN/Windows Live - account for almost 11 billion of the 48 billion minutes that Britons spend online," said Alex Burmaster, European communications director for Nielsen Online, in a statement.

"That's over one in every five minutes and highlights just how competitive the online space is for both publishers and advertisers when it comes to capturing consumer attention," he added.

In April this year, the average Briton was online for 22 hours and 20 minutes, up from 34 per cent last year. Neilsen Online suggested Facebook could be one driver behind the jump, as it added 3.8 billion minutes over the year to 6.2 billion. Its market share by time climbed 5.6 per cent to 12.7 per cent.

Second-ranked MSN/Windows Live slid nearly a percentage point to 9.2 per cent, but added over a billion minutes in the past year. Third-ranked Google gained 0.4 per cent market share to 5.3 per cent, adding 950 million minutes.

Microsoft and Apple rounded out the list, which Nielsen Online attributed to the popularity of Windows Media Player and iTunes.

Because the top 10 firms are winning so much traffic, it leaves the other 7,625 brands watched by Neilsen battling it out for the other 55 per cent. While such smaller brands might not appreciate the big brands' dominance, Burmaster said it's not a bad thing for increasing online advertising.

"The major players have had a pretty good year in terms of the increasing amount of time people spend on their websites and applications," Burmaster added. "This bodes well for the online industry as it attempts to attract the big brand advertisers by providing a more meaningful platform to engage consumers, particularly through the vehicles of entertainment and communication."

The top ten web brands in the UK:

1 - Facebook (market share 12.7 per cent)

2 - MSN/Windows Live (9.2 per cent)

3 - Google (5.3 per cent)

4 - eBay (4.1 per cent)

5 - Yahoo! (3.5 per cent)

6 - AOL Media Network (3.0 per cent)

7 - BBC (2.3 per cent)

8 - YouTube (1.9 per cent)

9 - Microsoft (1.5 per cent)

10 Apple (1.5 per cent)