Social traffic becomes more polarised in a year

Less traffic comes from multiple social networks – Facebook now dominates

A year ago people shared things online in several places – indeed they still do. You could share this article on Twitter for instance, or LinkedIn, or Facebook. Some people will share this article in all three places. However research on 200,000 websites with significant visitor traffic shows that over the past 12 months the amount of traffic coming from shared content on the vast majority of social networks has fallen.

Infographic: Facebook Dwarfs Competition in Terms of Referral Traffic | Statista

The amount of traffic from shared content on Facebook has more than doubled in the past year. Yet on almost every other one of the main social networks, the amount of traffic has fallen. Pinterest stands out because it is now the second most common place for social traffic – dwarfing even Twitter. The only other social network to have seen an increase is Google+ which has almost doubled the amount of traffic from its network. The problem is, very little traffic came from Google+ in the first place, so it is a doubling of very little, which is still tiny. Indeed, the amount of traffic from Google+ is 320 times less than the amount from Facebook.

This study is fascinating as it shows that online social referral traffic is becoming polarised. People are clearly seeing Facebook as THE place to share things, resulting in all those additional visits to linked websites. Twitter is fast becoming an “also-ran” in the social traffic stakes.

What does this mean for your business? It suggests that if you want your business to get traffic from social sites you have got to make your content  interesting to people who use Facebook.

And what do they find interesting? They want funny stuff, entertaining material or content that has high emotion. It means that what you might call “ordinary” business content is not going to get shared on Facebook and so your social traffic is going to be tiny. If people are seeing Facebook as the place to share, that is only going to benefit businesses if they make their content “Facebook friendly”.

Note too, that the dramatic rise in Pinterest traffic means that unless your website has great imagery which can be shared, that outlet is also not open to you.

In short, this new research means that if you want to benefit from online social media traffic you need to write material that is different, emotionally engaging and light – not boring old stuffy dry business material. And when you have got your copy right it needs illustrating with images people want to share.

In other words, this new research doesn’t tell us much new. Your website will only get social media traffic if you have great copy and excellent images.

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Graham Jones
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+
Graham Jones

@grahamjones

Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist, professional speaker and author of 32 books who helps businesses understand the online behaviour of their customers
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