Social networks, while offering brands a platform in which to interact with consumers, also provide marketers with a wealth of referral traffic. And according to Shareaholic’s latest study, Facebook and Pinterest are dominating.
The social plugin service collects data from 200,000 publishers reaching 250 million unique visitors collectively. Almost a year has passed since its last Social Media Traffic report, and once again the findings suggest that if you’re not utilizing the top three, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity.
Unsurprisingly, Facebook — with its 1.15 billion members — accounted for more than 10 percent of overall traffic to publishers in September. The social giant is followed by Pinterest which drove 3.68 percent of total traffic. It might seem mediocre in comparison, but Pinterest now drives more traffic to publishers than Twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit, and Google+ combined.
The study also found significant year-over-year gains. Pinterest’s share of overall visits, for example, increased by 66 percent year-over-year, more than any other social network. This is particularly important now that the company is experimenting with paid advertising. At the other end of the spectrum, referral traffic from Reddit and StumbleUpon declined 35 percent and 27.5 percent, respectively.
Other networks like LinkedIn are seeing steady growth, due in part to the success of its Influencers program. The company’s share of overall traffic to publishers increased 34.51 percent. Additionally, YouTube’s popularity is on the rise; its referral traffic increased 52.86 percent.
As for Google+, which referred a “fair” number of visits to online publisher last month, it’s not yet a leading referral source. Shareaholic’s data suggests that the network shouldn’t be a top priority for digital marketers, but that could change at any moment. With that in mind, marketers shouldn’t exclude Google+ from their marketing strategy either.
You might see different results from your website, which is why we recommend paying close attention to analytics to determine which service drives the most traffic for you. If the sites that you thought were performing well aren’t, then it might be time to revisit your content strategy, including taking another look at the platforms you’re using and ignoring.
Jennifer Beese: Jennifer Beese has worked as a community manager and social media strategist. When she’s not writing, you can find her studying anatomy and physiology—she literally has a skeleton in her closet—or under the stars with her telescope.