A report released by my company, Shareaholic, a social plugin service used by 200,000 publishers reaching 250 million people monthly, reveals referral traffic trends from 8 of the largest social networks over the past 13 months.
The data (pictured below) shows strong year-over-year growth for Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn, decline for StumbleUpon and Reddit, and unimpressive numbers from Google+.
Here are the highlights:
1) Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter are the clear category leaders. These three social media giants referred 10.37%, 3.68% and 1.17%, respectively, of overall visits to online publishers last month. Their respective share of visits grew 58.81%, 66.52% and 54.12% over the last year.
2) StumbleUpon and Reddit are losing, badly. StumbleUpon referrals declined 27.47%, while Reddit experienced a 35.16% drop in share of visits to publishers.
3) YouTube and LinkedIn are small fish, growing rapidly. In 6th and 7th place, we have YouTube and LinkedIn, which saw their share of referrals grow 52.86% and 34.51%, respectively.
4) Google+ is in last place. Google+ referred 0.04% of overall traffic to publishers last month, experiencing little growth over the same month last year.
What does this mean for marketers? Digital marketers may want to reconsider their marketing strategies. If any of the growing social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and LinkedIn) are prime marketing channels for your business, keep plugging away because those channels will likely keep growing. If your marketing is dependent on social media platforms in decline (StumbleUpon and Reddit), you may want to look for new ways to drive traffic for your site. Oh, and for Google+ marketers, hold on tight. The social network is certainly worth leveraging, but be wary of making it a top priority.
It would also be important to consider that every business is different and different social networks drive different types (and quality) of leads. Figure out which social media site(s) works best for your business. It is recommended you use this data to plan for the best AND the worst.