Last month, Facebook briefly surpassed Google in referral percentage to The Guardian. Although it hasn’t maintained the lead, the news organization reached a new record of unique visitors and attributed 30 percent of referral traffic to the social network.
This is an impressive increase, considering six months ago Facebook only accounted for two percent of the Guardian’s referral traffic. The jump is largely credited to the company’s Open Graph app, which lets members read stories and share them through Facebook’s Ticker, Timeline, and News Feed.
“I believe it is only a matter of time before it [Facebook] becomes the main driver of traffic to many core Guardian products,” explained Tanya Cordrey, director of digital development for the Guardian.
Cordrey also revealed that more than eight million people have added the Facebook app in five months and more than four million people have used the ad-supported app in the last four weeks. According to AppData — The Guardian’s internal metrics — the app has received between 200,000 and 250,000 daily active users.
This is a great example of how Facebook’s Open Graph can drive significant traffic to third-party apps and websites. The Guardian’s social reader app provides a valuable experience for current fans, and because individuals can share content with their networks, it also helps to capture a new audience.