Study Reports 20% of Overall Traffic Comes From Facebook and Pinterest

SMS Text
Study Reports 20% of Overall Traffic Comes From Facebook and Pinterest

A new report released by my company, Shareaholic, a content discovery and sharing platform used by 200,000+ websites around the globe, revealed Facebook and Pinterest collectively referred one-fifth of all visitors to sites across the web last month.

The study was intended to observe how much traffic the eight largest social media platforms referred to Shareaholic’s growing network of sites and highlighted Facebook, Pinterest, and StumbleUpon as the biggest winners in Q4 2013 due to their relatively strong growth in “share of visits” (a percentage of overall traffic — direct traffic, social referrals, organic search, paid search, etc. — sites received).

The most interesting finding from the data (pictured below) is growth experienced by Facebook and Pinterest.

Social Media Referrals Report Jan '14 stats

Image credit: Used with permission.

Last month, Facebook drove more than 15 percent of overall visits sites received. Pinterest’s share was surprisingly close to five percent. For a site that’s not yet four years old, Pinterest is a force to be reckoned with. The pair, together, drove more than 20 percent of overall visits to sites. One might say that — among social media platforms — Facebook is king, while Pinterest is queen (even though Pinterest is still an excellent platform for men).

Essentially, what’s happening is:

  • Facebook has been killing it, in part thanks to increased mobile activity.
  • Pinterest’s growth in share of visits is notable simply because it is one of the newest social networks to swing in the big leagues.
  • Twitter maintains its position as the third largest referrer of social traffic.
  • StumbleUpon may soon enough rival Twitter for third place. Of course, only time will tell.
  • Reddit and YouTube saw relatively large dips in share of traffic.
  • LinkedIn and Google+ are now tied for seventh — basically last — place.

What does this mean for digital marketers?

In general, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter are the most promising sources of social traffic. But not all marketing strategies are the same (nor should they be). Some marketers, such as Mike Allton, derive most of their traffic from Google+, while others see tremendous value from LinkedIn. Whether you’re a blog, brand or business, you really need to go wherever your target audience is.

Also, be ready to adapt at any moment and do not heavily rely on one source for the majority of your traffic. Plenty of virality mills have been hit due to tweaks in Facebook’s News Feed algorithm. Since a large majority of their traffic came from clicks on Facebook, many of their expected page views virtually disappeared overnight. Smart marketers know to grow traffic from their best channels, while experimenting with others to discover more reliable sources of traffic.

Finally, here we’ve plotted the points on a line graph to show how each social network’s share of visits has changed since September.

Social Media Referrals Report Jan '14 graph

Image credit: Used with permission.

Does any of this surprise you? Let us know in the comments!

Danny Wong
Danny Wong is the co-founder of Blank Label, an award-winning luxury menswear company. He also leads marketing for Receiptful, a platform to supercharge all customer... Read Full Bio
Danny Wong
Get the latest news from Search Engine Journal!
We value your privacy! See our policy here.
  • Preeti Kaur

    This is pretty much going to be a bigger trend in 2014 as more and more web developers are trying to increase their presence on social networking sites. Updates from Google has compelled people to diversify their traffic as much as they can so all the social networking sites are going to play a big role.

  • Danny Wong

    Preeti, totally with you there. And what smart marketer, developer, writer, or business owner wouldn’t do the same? Diversity is key to any successful and sustainable marketing campaign.

  • Madhav Biradar

    For me Twitter and Pinterest works better. My gaming site drive traffic from those two. Soon I will concentrate on Google+ and LinkedIn. In India Facebook never gave me any traffic, so I avoid it.

  • Danny Wong

    Interesting to know. Thanks for sharing what you’re seeing on your end, Madhav! How much traffic, percentage-wise, are you getting from Twitter and Pinterest?

  • Hakan KIRKAN

    Great post. Thanks. Is there any data out there about the conversion rates, or quality of the traffic.

  • Danny Wong

    There are a few other reports that share that information. Business Insider summarized a few of those findings

  • Vinny Nguyen

    Interestingly enough, now traffic is king whether or not you make money with it.

    • Danny Wong

      Haha. It is quite interesting how so many marketing conversations are focused on traffic acquisition. In an era when traffic is available (thanks to social media), it’s easy to forget the real KPIs for your business. Although, I am one of the culprits that writes a lot about how to build an audience and readership, I try to educate readers about the importance of quality traffic too.

  • Ray John

    Thanks for the fresh update on the market shares of social networks. Pinterest is really getting interesting. But referrals should not be the only factor to check, what about the conversion. Pinterest may be second in referral but Twitter probably performs better in conversion. I still have to check that out. Thanks anyway.



    • Danny Wong

      Hi John, we don’t do conversion tracking for sites, though that data would be interesting to see.