Facebook Dominates Social Referral Traffic; Pinterest Gaining Ground
Facebook not only continues to rule in social media traffic referrals, but also generated four times more social referral traffic than its closest rival, Pinterest, in the third quarter of 2014. A recent report by Shareaholic shows that in Q3 2014, Facebook’s number one position was challenged by Pinterest, which currently sits in second place. Moreover, Facebook generated thrice as much social media referral traffic as the next six social networks—Twitter, Reddit, Google+, StumbleUpon, YouTube, and LinkedIn—combined in September 2014. [See Figure 1]
Despite a slight dip in referrals from June to September 2014, Facebook’s position at the top spot looks to remain unchallenged for a long time. While Pinterest also showed a slight decrease in referrals, it still held on strongly in second place. Conversely, while Google+ and LinkedIn were the only two social networks that showed slight growth at the end of the quarter, their combined traffic was not enough to overtake Reddit right above them.
Meanwhile, the year over year figures released by Shareaholic are more telling of Facebook’s dominance in social referrals. Figure 2 shows that out of the eight major social networks surveyed, only three of them showed an increase in growth from September of last year to this year. While Facebook’s traffic more than doubled within that timeframe, it’s also worth noting the growth that Pinterest and Google+ have experienced, despite them earning only “modest gains” according to Shareaholic.
Pinterest’s rise has been credited with its growing user base, though Shareaholic also believes it may have to do with it being the social network of choice for the majority of American women. Additionally, Shareaholic believes that with news of an algorithm resembling Facebook’s, Twitter may have “lost its way,” and this was a major factor in its slide over the year.
However, the most surprising loss of referrals was that of YouTube, which once placed fifth in social traffic. It has since experienced an 87.27% drop, putting it at seventh place. While no clear reason was given for this sudden drop in referrals, it’s perhaps because more social media users are willing to consumer and refer visual content rather than videos (which have to be streamed).
For webmasters: Which social network is bringing you the most referral traffic? Is niche an important driver? Let us know in the Comments below.
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