Danny Wong

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Welcome to Shareaholic’s Social Media Traffic Report. Our findings are based on 13 months of data collected from our 200,000 publishers who reach more than 250 million unique monthly visitors. It’s been nearly a year since we last released a report, so we are looking forward to hearing your thoughts!

But first, the findings (click to enlarge):

social media report Oct '13 stats

We tracked 8 of the most popular social media platforms to see how they were driving traffic to our network of publishers. Here’s what the numbers mean.

1) Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter are dominating. These three social media power players collectively accounted for 15.22% of overall traffic last month. Given their community and share-friendly nature, it’s no surprise that they top the list in traffic referrals and have grown more than 54% each in share of overall visits. Facebook grew 58.81%, Pinterest by 66.52% and Twitter 54.12%. Pinterest’s growth is especially interesting now that the company is flirting with paid advertising.

2) StumbleUpon and Reddit referrals are declining. The now profitable discovery engine StumbleUpon made its first acquisition last month swooping up 5by, yet their share of traffic driven to online publishers declined 27.47%. Reddit, the effortlessly odd social news site, experienced a 35.16% decline in their respective share of referrals (comparing September of last year to the same month this year).

3) YouTube and LinkedIn are gaining share. Although YouTube and LinkedIn aren’t topping the leaderboard (yet), they’re growing fast. Their share of overall traffic to publishers increased 52.86% and 34.51% respectively. Everyone loves YouTube (and probably spends more time on it than they should). That’s simple. LinkedIn’s growth can partly be attributed to the popularity of the Influencers program and its disruptive media model.

4) Google+ isn’t yet competitive. Although Google+ referred a fair number of visits to online publishers last month (0.04% is a substantial number when we’re looking at a data set of hundreds of millions of visits), it is hardly a leading referral source. Google+ is consistently dwarfed by the competing social media sites. The Daily Muse (via Mashable) notes that there is a lot of conflicting data relating to Google+’s relevance as a social media platform. Our data suggests it probably shouldn’t be a top priority for digital marketers, but — of course — that can change at any moment. (Note: At the same time, we’re not saying marketers should exclude it from their marketing mix entirely).

social media report Oct '13

How have traffic referrals from Social Media sites grown / declined for you?

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  • http://www.homepagely.com/ Homepagely

    The rise will stop eventualy!

  • Noel Gray

    The sharing icons below the chart say it all. At this time Facebook = 142, Twitter = 166, Linked In = 60 and Pinterest = 38. Google, that would be zero!

    • http://www.TheSocialMediaHat.com/ Mike Allton

      Shareaholic is unable to display metrics for Google+ shares at all. Which makes me question the entire premise of the article – if they’re unable to track Google+ +1’s, what other data are they missing?

      • Danny Wong

        Hi Mike, I’m sending an email to discuss this further. But in replying to this, the reason why we cannot track Google+ +1s is because they have not yet made their share API available. Therefore, we cannot accurately track Google+ shares. Additionally, the findings of our report have nothing to do with share counts. Instead, the findings focus on how much traffic sites receive via shares posted. For example, one Facebook share (perhaps from an influential Facebook user) which receives 200 clicks will be tracked as 200 referrals via Facebook. In similar fashion, 20 Facebook shares (from non-influencers) with an average of three clicks each will send a total of 60 referrals via Facebook.

        • Danny Wong

          I forgot to sign in when I posted this, but this comment came from me.

        • http://www.TheSocialMediaHat.com/ Mike Allton

          Thanks Danny! I appreciate your response and as I mentioned via email, I will be inserting your comments into my own blog post.

    • Danny Wong

      Noel, thanks for the comment! It’s funny you noticed that :). I should mention (as I’ve also stated in my reply to Mike Allton) we do not track the number of Google+ +1s because they have not yet made a Share Count API yet. We will do so as soon as Google makes this API available. While we can track the number of +1s simply by recording the number of times someone shares a link through our +1 button, this is a flawed method. To provide the utmost accuracy, we display counts provided by the services themselves through their APIs. For this reason, we don’t show the count next to the buttons.

      Also, the number of +1s does not always tell the whole story because one influential Google+ user can share a link that gets clicked 1,000 times (and thus, send 1,000 referrals via Google+) or 10 users can +1 the story which get seen-then-clicked by two people each (sending only 20 referrals via Google+).

  • http://www.TheSocialMediaHat.com/ Mike Allton

    I believe that the conclusions stated on this article with regard to Google+ are in error, and discussed why in a blog post of my own here: http://www.thesocialmediahat.com/blog/should-google-be-digital-marketing-priority-11022013

    Essentially, even if the data is accurate, the statement that Google+ should not be a priority for digital marketers fails to consider all of the benefits and potential the platform affords. You can wait until everyone around you is lauding Google+ if you want to, but I’m going to enjoy the traffic and connections and SEO starting now.

    • Danny Wong

      Mike, thanks for sharing the post. Also, interesting points! You’re right that many sites receive more referrals from Google+ than they do via other social media platforms, yet the majority of sites do not. Therefore, we stand by our data. Our data set is significant (200k sites that reach 250mm uniques monthly). As I mentioned in my comments below, your understanding of our methodology is inaccurate. “Referrals” do not equal “shares”.

      That being said, Google+ does offer great benefits for site owners. The reason we suggested it shouldn’t be a top priority for marketers is because the numbers show an investment in Google+ (for most businesses) would be low-impact. To get the most out of their Social Media marketing efforts, they should focus on platforms such as Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter, which are proven, major traffic drivers. Then again, to each his (or her) own. Some sites find it easier to reach their audience on alternative platforms rather than the mainstream social media networks.

      At the same time, with the new improvements Google+ rolled out last week, this can all change shortly, and you would benefit being an early active adopter of the platform.

      I’ve emailed you with further comments, directly addressing concerns in your post.

  • sugathchandana


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