Danny Wong

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Welcome to the 1st Quarter 2014 edition of the Shareaholic Social Media Traffic Report. In our last study, Facebook, Pinterest and StumbleUpon saw the biggest gains in their respective “share of visits,” a percentage of overall traffic — direct traffic, social referrals, organic search, paid search, etc. — sites received.

Our findings for this new study are based on four months of data collected from 300,000+ websites which reach more than 400 million unique visitors each month.

This report takes a look at how much traffic the 8 most popular social media platforms referred to our network of sites. The Shareaholic network is well diversified, with sites ranging from independent lifestyle blogs to publishing companies to commerce sites. The chart below features data for the months of December 2013 through March 2014. The numbers in the month columns are shown as “share of visits” while the last two columns on the right quantify how much each social network’s respective share has grown or shrunk.

Following the data are 4 important takeaways from this study:

social media report Apr '14 stats

1) Facebook is the supreme king of social referrals

  • Facebook users love to — or can’t help but — click links on their feed. Last month, Facebook drove 21.25% of the overall traffic sites received. Since December, FB’s share of traffic grew 38% (5.81 percentage points).
  • While brands enjoy hating on Facebook for limiting the reach of Pages and then forcing businesses to pay for ads, Facebook still continues to refer loads of traffic to websites when users share links they enjoy with all of their friends. Though, last month, Eat24 caused a ruckus because it initiated a ‘breakup’ with Facebook, brands will never be bold enough to actually prevent users from ‘liking’ or ‘sharing’ things from their sites to Facebook. Eat24’s popular breakup letter received more than 26k Facebook likes and shares. While most brands may have lost faith in their Fan Pages, they know the world’s largest social network will still bless them with tons of organic traffic.

2) Pinterest is the reigning queen of social referrals

  • Pinterest further solidified its 2nd place standing; its share of traffic grew a whopping 48% (2.31 percentage points) since December. Last month, it claimed a 7.10% share of overall traffic, which is orders of magnitude greater than the shares for each of the 6 remaining social networks.
  • For sites overall, Pinners are not the most engaged bunch. For brands though, Piqora states a pin is worth $0.78 in sales.  Naturally, results will vary from site to site.

3) Twitter hangs onto third while StumbleUpon closes in

  • In the 1st quarter, Twitter’s share of overall traffic held steady around 1%. Last month, Twitter managed a 1.14% share of overall traffic, gaining 1.59% (0.02 percentage points) since December.
  • StumbleUpon made surprising progress, driving 0.99% of overall visits to sites last month. SU’s share of traffic grew 14.91% (0.13 percentage points) over Q1.

4) Reddit, YouTube, Google+, and LinkedIn (mostly) fail to impress

  • Reddit’s 0.21% share didn’t even budge.
  • YouTube was the biggest loser with a meager 0.09% share of overall traffic last month. Its share shrunk by more than half (52%) since December, shedding 0.10 percentage points.
  • For the first time since July 2013, Google+ overtook LinkedIn for 7th place. Over Q1, Google+ grew its share of traffic by 53% (0.03 percentage points) to 0.08% overall. LinkedIn only drove 0.04% of overall traffic to sites; its share shrunk 21% (0.01 percentage points) over Q1.
  • As our Social Referrals That Matter Report noted, YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn do drive the most engaged visitors (even though they drive the fewest).

social media traffic report Apr '14 graph

What interesting traffic trends have you noticed over Q1? Also, if you enjoy reading our data reports and don’t want to miss out on the next one, click the image below and subscribe to our blog!

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Looking for an update to our Social Media Traffic Report? See recently published Shareaholic studies. Questions? Email us: press@shareaholic.com

107 Responses to “Facebook and Pinterest are the King and Queen of Social Referrals [REPORT]”

  1. Danny,

    Great write indeed. I am surprised that Youtube and G+ fail to make the stand. Of course, we all know how important FB is. One way or another, you still NEED FB haha.

    Thanks for sharing!

    ~Reginald

    • Danny Wong says:

      Thanks, Reginald. I think the fact is, not enough businesses, marketers and publishers are on G+ and YouTube. FB, Pinterest and Twitter are the default social networks everyone talks about. It’ll take a while before every marketer believes it’s worth developing a G+ strategy. Only then will these numbers really shift.

      • Leonard Sipes says:

        Hi Danny: Thanks for your answer. A follow-up. If government, associations and nonprofits have no intention to advertise via our Facebook Pages, should we return to Profiles as our Facebook presence? I really appreciate your advise. Best, Len.

        • Danny Wong says:

          You’re welcome, Len!

          As for your inquiry, it’s tough to say. If you won’t commit to developing the marketing channel, it’s not worth pursuing at all. It’ll take a lot of time and effort to build a noteworthy FB presence, so if you’re short on resources, I would not recommend it. In many cases, a newly created marketing channel, managed passively, is worse than no channel at all.

  2. I am definitely keeping an eye on G+. I was at a dinner party recently and the buzz in the room was “We need to figure out G+ and get on there.” Thanks for the numbers. Really good stuff.

    • Danny Wong says:

      Thank YOU for the comment, Debi. I’m excited to see how these numbers will trend in the coming months!

      • I went and read the engagement report you made on 3/31 and that, I think, is what matters. Are you engaging with your audience? G+ is definitely a player there and I find that to be true.

        • Danny Wong says:

          We are, but we do need a bit more practice. I, personally, am not the most active person on G+ BUT I do notice that the users are far more engaged there than on other social networks. Will continue working on and improving our G+ presence :)

        • Every bit helps. It’s been fun to engage with you, here, today. Thanks for the great content!

  3. Thanks for sharing these stats! Facebook and Google+ is our major referrals 3rd is Pinterest.

  4. You guys must not have a lot of tech sites in your network if Pinterest is driving 7% of your traffic and only 1% for Twitter.

    • Danny Wong says:

      Hi Takeshi, of the tech sites you’ve worked with, how many referrals did Twitter end up driving?

      • Hi Danny, I haven’t personally worked with any tech sites, but I find it hard to believe that sites like Techcrunch only get 1% of their traffic from Twitter vs Pinterest, especially if you look at the sharing activity of their userbase.

        My personal background is in Internet Marketing, where Twitter can drive 15-30% traffic, and Facebook is not so high. Even LinkedIn is a higher driver of traffic than Pinterest.

        However, your numbers are definitely inline with ecommerce sites I have worked with.

        • Danny Wong says:

          Great points. I certainly wouldn’t bet highly on Pinterest driving a large share of Techcrunch’s traffic.

          It is also important to note that high share counts do not necessarily translate into clicks (and visits). I’d invite you to join this Twitter thread here: https://twitter.com/AndreaVahl/status/458323768352735232

          Much thanks for sharing numbers you’ve seen. Our data is certainly unique because it is aggregated across so many sites. Naturally, every site will have different numbers. Each site will cater to a different audience and will execute a unique social media strategy.

  5. onreact says:

    Where is Tumblr on this list? I can’t believe they perform worse than Google+ and LinkedIn.

    • Danny Wong says:

      Historically, Tumblr has underperformed. That being said, I’ll keep a careful eye out to see if it drives a noteworthy amount of visits. If it does, I’ll be sure to include it in our next report! How many referrals does Tumblr typically send your way?

  6. Guest says:

    Well, to be fair for youtube: the reason why Youtube ranks so low in sharing is not the problem with Youtube as a social media platform, it’s that Youtube already has excellent sharing features in place. Would you really use the Shareaholic to share youtube videos? If I’m sharing a youtube video, I’m going to use their sharing features, not Shareaholic’s.

    • Danny Wong says:

      Apologies for the confusion. I should have done a better job explaining our methodology. Our analytics track all inbound traffic to sites, not just traffic via our share buttons. I think the reason YouTube drives so few referrals is because a limited number of sites have developed a sophisticated YouTube strategy. If every site in our network managed a YouTube channel, I’m confident these numbers would be different. Unfortunately, only a select number of sites do, so you get small numbers like these.

  7. Susan says:

    Hard to believe that g+ failed to impress. For me g+ and pinterest comes in first and second position

    • Danny Wong says:

      Understandably, your stats will differ from ours. This is likely because your marketing is geared more towards G+ and that’s wonderful! Many sites haven’t yet implemented a solid G+ strategy, which is why, in the aggregate, G+ doesn’t perform so well.

  8. Leonard Sipes says:

    Hi Danny: Please answer a question that perplexes many of us in the government, association and nonprofit sectors. So where the H are all the Facebook referrals coming from? Most (all?) of us will not advertise to support our Pages thus Facebook seems dead to us. Should we return to Profiles? Thanks, Len.

    • Danny Wong says:

      Hi Leonard, thanks for your comment. Though sites do not always explicitly promote their content to Facebook, users (and readers) may share your content with their friends on Facebook, thus driving referrals. Hope that makes sense!

  9. Some interesting numbers posted here. I do not use the Shareaholic very often anymore. Have been using BufferApp.

  10. Great job mate. I’m down in Sydney and this data is such a great confirmation when talking with clients. As much hating that’s happening with Facebook, it’s an incredible tool for websites. It’s also great to see Google+ make the move up and I’m sure we all agree the trend will continue to rise. Once again, can’t say GREAT JOB enough. Cheers.

  11. I personally don’t understand how to use correctly pinterest in my social strategy. I’m maybe old school, but I cannot see interest in this network…

    • Danny Wong says:

      You’re not necessarily old school. If Pinterest is not a popular destination for your customers, then there may be little value for you in targeting Pinners.

  12. […] Pinterest’s social traffic referral share grew a quantum 48 percent in the first quarter of the year and is now second only to Facebook in total social media traffic referrals, according to Shareaholic’s 2014 Q1 Social Media Traffic study. […]

  13. […] you, they will find you. This in turn also boosts your search engine results through amplified SEO. In 2013, Facebook drove 21% of traffic that sites received, while Pinterest drove 7% and Twitter drove […]

  14. […] media is a great way to boost traffic to your website. According to Shareaholic’s Social Media Traffic Report, Facebook drives over 20% of all website traffic, followed by Pinterest at 7%. Whether you choose […]

  15. […] visually-rich platform, but did you know it is also highly respected for driving traffic referrals, beaten only by Facebook? Article-based websites such as Mashable are using Pinterest to share information from their sites […]

  16. […] a key part of your overall web marketing, digital advertising and lead generation strategies. When analyzing its product data, Shareaholic appropriately mentioned that Facebook’s 1.317 billion monthly active users […]

  17. […] is a disproportionately big player in this space. This past spring, an analysis showed that Facebook drove 21.25% of the overall traffic sites received. The next highest is […]

  18. […] Pinterest is the second largest traffic-driver in the world at the moment. […]

  19. […] found that Pinterest Drives More Traffic to Publishers Than Twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit combined […]

  20. […] non è riuscito a costruire un sito capace di rivaleggiare seriamente con Facebook: l’ultimo “Social Media Traffic Report” di Shareaholic definisce la piattaforma social di Big G […]

  21. ma-li says:

    Much prefer g+ to facebook, for starters there is a lot less kids and spam. G+ is much more targeted to my sample.

  22. […] terms of quantity, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter are the top three referrers of traffic. The Shareaholic study looked at a four-month period of data (December through March), covering more than 300,000 […]

  23. […] social-media marketing helps build successful businesses. A recent study by Shareaholic, which tracked 300,000 websites over four months, suggested that social-media referrals now lead to […]

  24. Guy Roginson says:

    Although Facebook is my largest client’s biggest referrer, YouTube is the same client’s best branding tool as reported by the customers. My guess is that as people begin to use annotations more efficiently within YouTube, you may see a higher referral rate out of YouTube. Regardless, a robust video marketing program via YouTube is a sure bet – I can tell you that from experience. Moreover, with Facebook messenger, more and more clients our communicating with us directly via Facebook messenger instead of email or phone. This was a surprise. Regardless, YouTube is an invaluable branding tool and Facebook is a great referrer. Using both well, we are killing it…..

  25. […] primarily as a vehicle that drives a lot of traffic to third-party sites linked on its boards — generating more referral traffic than Twitter and inching closer to the number-one traffic shunter, Facebook — now the tune is a […]

  26. […] primarily as a vehicle that drives a lot of traffic to third-party sites linked on its boards — generating more referral traffic than Twitter and inching closer to the number-one traffic shunter, Facebook — now the tune is a […]

  27. […] loads of traffic to websites when users share links they enjoy with all of their friends,” says Shareaholic’s Danny Wong. “Though, last month, Eat24 caused a ruckus because it […]

  28. […] are on Pinterest (stats) and the site is second only to Facebook for driving traffic to websites (stats). This makes it a really useful site for bloggers […]

  29. […] No Pinterest cerca de 80% dos formadores de opinião são mulheres. O potencial de venda é enorme. Embora ainda pouco explorado pelas empresas brasileiras, essa rede social gera mais tráfego que Google+, Youtube e Linkedin juntos, segundo pesquisa da Shareaholic. […]

  30. […] reveals that Pinterest has increased its traffic driving capacity up to 7.10% from 4.79% in just three months (from December 2013 to March 2014). […]

  31. […] reveals that Pinterest has increased its traffic driving capacity up to 7.10% from 4.79% in just three months (from December 2013 to March 2014). […]

  32. […] reveals that Pinterest has increased its traffic driving capacity up to 7.10% from 4.79% in just three months (from December 2013 to March 2014). […]

  33. Danny Wong says:

    A majority of the remaining sources are: direct & organic search. Then, of course, there are tens of thousands of ways sites also source traffic.

  34. […] reveals that Pinterest has increased its traffic driving capacity up to 7.10% from 4.79% in just three months (from December 2013 to March 2014). […]

  35. […] social site is the 12th most visited site in the U.S., according to ranking firm Alexa, and the 2nd most active site when it comes to social referrals (Facebook being in the top spot). That means there’s a good […]

  36. […] terms of quantity, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter are the top three referrers of traffic. The Shareaholic study looked at a four-month period of data (December through March), covering more than 300,000 […]

  37. […] mobile traffic stands at 48%. Not just that, ecommerce giants like Flipkart and Myntra have already accepted that […]

  38. […] marketing helps build successful businesses. A recent study by Shareaholic, which tracked 300,000 websites over four months, suggested that social-media referrals now lead to […]

  39. […] terms of quantity, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter are the top three referrers of traffic. The Shareaholic study looked at a four-month period of data (December through March), covering more than 300,000 […]

  40. […] using Pinterest as part of your social media marketing strategy you might be missing out on a powerful source of traffic! With its emphasis on eye-catching visuals Pinterest captures the attentions of millions of users […]

  41. […] Istraživanja pokazuju da je Pinterest odmah iza Facebooka kada je reč o generisanju saobraćaja ka određenim adresama. Razlog tome je dobra povezanost pinova i njihovih izvora, gde svaki klik na pin vodi ka određenoj stranici sa koje i potiče ili koja pruža više informacija. […]

  42. […] accounts for nearly 25 percent of all social sharing, and according to new data from Shareaholic, traffic referrals grew 48 percent from December […]

  43. […] in April, the data tracking blog, Shareaholic, dubbed Pinterest as the reigning queen of social referrals. Since December it has seen a growth in traffic of 48% and is second only to Facebook in terms of […]

  44. […] recent study found that 30% of website traffic is generated from social media. Is your social media hitting that […]

  45. […] According to a study by Shareaholic that followed 300,000 websites for over 4 months, social media referrals now account for 30% of sites’ overall traffic. […]

  46. […] According to a study by Shareaholic that followed 300,000 websites for over 4 months, social media referrals now account for 30% of sites’ overall traffic. […]

  47. […] According to a study by Shareaholic that followed 300,000 websites for over 4 months, social media referrals now account for 30% of sites’ overall traffic. […]

  48. […] in April, the data tracking blog, Shareaholic, dubbed Pinterest as the reigning queen of social referrals. Since December it has seen a growth in traffic of 48% and is second only to Facebook in terms of […]

  49. […] in April, the data tracking blog, Shareaholic, dubbed Pinterest as the reigning queen of social referrals. Since December it has seen a growth in traffic of 48% and is second only to Facebook in terms of […]

  50. […] you have a page in Facebook and twitter, in next steps, you should create an account on Pinterest. Shareaholic.com conducts a survey of the 8 major social networking sites and traffic they are sending to websites. […]

  51. […] mais de 70 milhões de usuários em todo o mundo, o Pinterest é a segunda rede social que mais gera tráfico para os sites (a primeira é o […]

  52. […] is a first step. One of the next should be Pinterest, in my opinion. Why is that? A Shareaholic study from 2014 compared the eight biggest social networks and their traffic. According to the report, […]

  53. […] a más de una quinta parte (21,3%) del tráfico web, según el último informe de Shareaholic latest social media referral report. Los resultados muestran el grado en que Facebook domina todas las plataformas sociales incluso en […]

  54. […] recent study found that 30% of website traffic is generated from social media. Is your social media hitting […]

  55. […] second only to Facebook (21.3 percent), and is miles ahead of other social sites, according to data from amplification platform Shareaholic . Investing in Pinterest now is a long-term play for […]

  56. […] Le notizie sul presunto fallimento di Google Plus esplodono soprattutto dopo la decisione di Vic Gundotra (padre di G+), presa in aprile, di lasciare il gruppo di Mountain View dopo 8 anni. La motivazione data da Gundotra è la volontà di partecipare a nuovi progetti. Sarà un caso che il vento del cambiamento soffi proprio all’uscita del report di Shareaholic? […]

  57. […] likes of Shopify, Pinterest has also highlighted its platform as an online shopping catalogue.  It refers more traffic than Twitter, YouTube and Tumblr. It’s second only to Facebook, and Pinterest’s traffic […]

  58. […] to a study by Shareaholic Facebook is the top referral platform among all social media […]

  59. […] in April, the data tracking blog, Shareaholic, dubbed Pinterest as the reigning queen of social referrals. Since December it has seen a growth in traffic of 48% and is second only to Facebook in terms of […]

  60. […] recent study found that 30% of website traffic is generated from social media. Is your social media hitting […]

  61. […] referrals come from Facebook Facebook leads its rivals for social referrals, according to the Shareaholic Social Media Traffic Report for Q1 2014. In March, over 20% of all referrals to Shareaholic’s 300,000 sites came through Facebook; […]

  62. […] lastly, an article that appeared on the Shareaholic Blog states that Facebook is sending the highest amount of social […]

  63. […] and family. When used effectively, social-media marketing helps build successful businesses. A study conducted by Shareaholic in 2014 tracked 300,000 websites over four months, and from their findings suggested that […]

  64. […] likes of Shopify, Pinterest has also highlighted its platform as an online shopping catalogue. It refers more traffic than Twitter, YouTube and Tumblr. It’s second only to Facebook, and Pinterest’s traffic […]

  65. […] likes of Shopify, Pinterest has also highlighted its platform as an online shopping catalogue. It refers more traffic than Twitter, YouTube and Tumblr. It’s second only to Facebook, and Pinterest’s traffic […]

  66. […] et Pinterest dominent le drive-to-web Shareaholic a publié son rapport sur le trafic généré par les réseaux sociaux au 1er trimestre 2014. Comme à l'accoutumée, Facebook mène la marche […]

  67. […] A study by Shareaholic, tracked 300,000 websites over four months, suggested that social-media referrals now lead to 30 percent of websites’ overall traffic. […]

  68. […] to share it on Pinterest. It’s a great idea for you to optimize your posts for Pinterest because it’s a great driver of traffic. Hotel blogs are especially suited to it, because topics like weddings, food, and travel are very […]

  69. […] report made by the Shareaholic last April 2014 said that Pinterest has garnered around 7.10 % of the web traffic. It has ranked […]

  70. […] les invite à visiter un site Internet. Une montée en puissance des réseaux sociaux qu’une autre étude du cabinet Shareaholic, publiée en avril 2014, semble confirmer. Selon celle-ci, en l’espace de quatre mois (de […]

  71. […] order to determine which of the 8 major social media networks refers the most traffic Shareaholic collected data from more than 300,000 web sites which reach more than 400 million unique visitors […]

  72. […] are on Pinterest (stats) and the site is second only to Facebook for driving traffic to websites (stats). This makes it a really useful site for bloggers […]

  73. […] April 2014 analysis (300,000+ websites with 400 million unique monthly visitors) found Pinterest is second only to Facebook for referrals, and it drove more traffic to websites than Twitter, Stumbleupon, Reddit, YouTube, […]

  74. […] recent study found that 30% of website traffic is generated from social media. Is your social media hitting […]

  75. […] recent study found that 30% of website traffic is generated from social media. Is your social media hitting […]

  76. […] marketing helps build successful businesses. Arecent study by Shareaholic, which tracked 300,000 websites over four months, suggested that social-media referrals now lead to […]

  77. […] marketing can help build a business or a brand. There’s no disputing this fact. In fact, a study by Shareaholic noted that social media referrals accounted for roughly 30% of almost all of the 300,000 websites […]

  78. I have been using the printerest lately a lot, I really liked the platform because I can separate my images into a catalog. The Facebook I see more active for customers, the marketing campaign’s success of more revenue than some others.

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