Twitter traffic gets major boost from Google

Twitter has benefited from the 2009 launch of Google's real-time search function, one new study shows.

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    A different kind of traffic.
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Back in December, after months of speculation, Google launched real-time search, a functionality fitted into Google's traditional search engine. By combing the tweets of hundreds of thousands of Twitter users around the globe, Google (and Bing) hoped to increase the speed and dynamism of its results. So far, so good. Now the analytics firm Experian Hitwise says real-time search has also had a major effect on Twitter – helping to boost traffic by 9 percent.

Over at DigitalBeat, LeeAnn Prescott breaks it down: comScore has already said that Twitter traffic was up 9 percent from December to January of 2010. Last month, in fact, was an all-time peak for Twitter, which logged something close to 22 million visitors. That's a lot of clicks. In addition, traffic on the microblogging site rose from November, when Google had not yet launched real-time search, to December, when it had.

But can we conclusively say that the traffic boost came from Google and Bing? Prescott points to a pile of recent facts and figures from Experian Hitwise:

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Data from Experian Hitwise data suggest that Google is the main source of the additional traffic — the share of Twitter’s traffic coming from Google increased by 9 percent when comparing the week ending December 5 to the week ending February 13 (from 12.8 percent to 14 percent). Hitwise showed a modest increase of 5 percent in market share of US visits to Twitter in that time period.

In a way, of course, it's no surprise that Twitter has benefited from the launch of real-time search. Twitter's internal search tool was never exactly a powerhouse, and it yielded mostly cluttered, busy results. Google, on the other hand, has integrated real-time search with plain ole search, allowing users to see blog results alongside tweets; instant observations alongside magazine and newspaper pieces.

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