Social Media Drove Almost a Third of Web Traffic

February 1, 2015 Content Marketing, Social Influence 1 comment

Social Media versus Search

Social media has officially trumped Search as the main source of traffic to websites! Well, at least according to Shareaholic.

In their latest report on social media traffic trends, Shareholic updated that social media platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and others were responsible for driving 31.24% of overall traffic to websites in December 2014. This was a sizable 22.71% increase over the same period last year.

Shareholic’s report coincided with an earlier blog post on Buzzfeed where social media was purported to have officially overtaken search as the number one source of website traffic from September 2014 onwards.

Facebook Referred Over 25 Percent of Website Traffic


Looking at the chart from Shareaholic above, it appeared that Facebook clearly rules in this arena. In the last three months of 2014, it drove over a quarter of the traffic to websites.

Coming a somewhat distant second was (surprise surprise!) Pinterest. Apparently, Pinterest referred over 5% of web traffic over the 4 months of 2014.

Beyond Facebook and Pinterest, other social platforms and websites did not do much for web traffic. The almighty Twitter referred less than 1% of web traffic. Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube hardly even registered a blip (see details in the table below from Shareaholic).


If we look at the figures over a longer time period (see chart below from Shareaholic), the differences between the social platforms become even more stark. Facebook grew from driving about 5-6% of website traffic in end 2011 to quintupling its traffic referrals to 25% in just over three years. During the same period, Pinterest grew quite respectably (although it dropped again towards the last few months of 2014) while the other social platforms barely made an impact.


How Should We Ride The Social Wave?

As you can see, referred web traffic isn’t spread evenly across all social networks. Driving the lion’s share of referred web traffic, Facebook is certainly a force to be reckoned with, followed by Pinterest and Twitter.

Do these results mean that we should forget about SEO and park all our marketing dollars with Facebook? Well, I don’t think that’s wise to do. While the impact of Search may have declined, it still accounts for a significant share of referred web traffic and may be relevant for B2B and less consumer-oriented businesses.

What then could we do? Here are some thoughts to spark off your imagination with:

  1. Begin building a Facebook presence if you haven’t already done so. I know its somewhat late in the game. However, as the saying goes – better late than never!
  2. Invest in targeted Facebook advertising and put some attention in creating an attractive Facebook advertisement. Here’s a great post on Facebook Marketing strategy teaching you how to segment your customers, optimize your ads, schedule your campaigns, manage your budget and track success.
  3. Start looking at Pinterest if you haven’t already done so. This is especially if you market to women (almost 80% of Pinterest users are ladies) or have a product or service that lends itself to photos and pictures. Here are 12 strategic ways you can use Pinterest for social media marketing.
  4. If you have developed some nifty infographics, don’t forget to create a suitable board on Pinterest and to park them there.
  5. Beyond Facebook and Pinterest, consider spending time building relationships and sharing content on Twitter. Remember not only to broadcast your website links, but to reciprocate with retweets and replies to other followers. Check out this list of advanced Twitter Strategies.

Naturally, there are tonnes of other ways in which you can boost your social media presence. Consider following this list of Top 10 Social Media Marketing blogs from Social Media Examiner (one of my favourite social media marketing blogs).

You may also wish to read the following good books to help you to optimize your social media marketing strategies:

  1. Gary Vaynerchuk’s brilliant Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook
  2. Michael Stelzner’s classic Launch
  3. David Kerpen’s Likeable Social Media
  4. Jackie Huba’s Monster Loyalty
  5. Ric Dragon’s Social Marketology
  6. Bob Garfield and Doug Levy’s Can’t Buy Me Like

Oh, and do check back often to Cooler Insights  as we bring you the latest tips on content, influencer and social media marketing.  🙂

By Walter
Founder of Cooler Insights, I am a geek marketer with almost 24 years of senior management experience in marketing, public relations and strategic planning. Since becoming an entrepreneur 5 years ago, my team and I have helped 58 companies and over 2,200 trainees in digital marketing, focusing on content, social media and brand storytelling.

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