Changes to the Facebook News Feed made over recent months may have angered some brands and publishers. Such changes may have even pushed some to abandon their Facebook strategies in favor of competing social platforms like Twitter or Google+, but if you're looking for traffic, that's probably not an entirely wise move to make.
Has your Facebook traffic been increasing compared to that from other social platforms? Let us know in the comments.
Much has been made of the decline of organic reach of Facebook Page posts, but the social network only continues to drive more and more traffic to websites. In fact, according to a new report, it's the only one of the top eight social networks to actually drive more traffic from March to June than it did in the months prior.
In April, we looked at Shareholic's Q1 Social Media Traffic Report. It found that Facebook referrals were skyrocketing, increasing nearly 38% between December and April. Pinterest came in second place (a distant second at that), but was growing even faster at over 48%.
Now the Q2 report is out, and Facebook and Pinterest remain in the number one and two spots respectively, but the numbers look considerably different. Facebook increased by 10.09% while Pinterest decreased over 19%.
Wow, what happened, Pinterest? And this comes as we were just talking about how much Buzzfeed has been growing its Pinterest traffic.
Year-over-year, Pinterest is still looking pretty good. It's up nearly 70% for referrals. Facebook is up over 150%. The only other network to show an increase year-over-year, is StumbleUpon at 13.33%. Quarter-over-quarter, it was down over 39% by Shareaholic's numbers.
Facebook drove 23.39% of overall visits to sites.
All in all, social media appears to making up a greater percentage of the referral pie. According to the report, the eight largest sources of social referrals drove 31.07% of overall traffic to sites received last month. That's compared to 15.55% during the same time last year.
Reddit, YouTube, and LinkedIn each saw dramatic decreases in referrals year-over-year. Reddit dropped over 65% over that time, while YouTube fell over 82% and LinknedIn over 77%.
"Easily the largest social network, Facebook commands the most clout among marketers and publishers hungry for referrals," writes Shareaholic's Danny Wong. "Well-positioned for world domination, Facebook now drives nearly a quarter (23.39%) of overall traffic to sites and has no plans of stopping anytime soon. Over the last year, its “share of traffic” has skyrocketed, up 150.49% (14.05 percentage points) from 9.34% in June 2013."
"Users are always plugged into their feed and without realizing, tend to be highly invested in frequent check-ins and lightweight touch points with their connections. Simply put, Facebook is winning the referrals war because users can’t seem to get enough of content shared by close friends and relatable acquaintances," he adds. "Facebook’s rich, and somewhat unpredictable feed promises anything but monotony. Multi-form media (short posts, long rants, link previews, unformatted links without previews, etc.) offers inconsistency which makes it impossible to scroll far without at least a handful of posts catching your eye."
You may not get very far in the New Feed with the things you post on your own Facebook Page (at least without paying for it), but it would seem that you should still be doing everything you can to encourage users to share your content on the social network from your website and any other means possible. People are clicking the links in their News Feeds.
It just so happens that Facebook launched a new feature this past week, which should result in even more referrals for sites. The new Save feature lets users save links (as well as places, movies, TV shows, and music) they come across in their News Feed to look at later.
Let's face it. We all see plenty of interesting looking stories come through our News Feed every day, but we don't always have time to stop and read them when we see them. As I said in a previous post, this is a long-overdue feature, and one that makes Facebook instantly better as a news reader (which seems to be one of Facebook's ultimate goals anyway).
Users who are already using RSS readers like Feedly are going to love the feature, even if it's lacking in some seemingly obvious features. You can't, for example, save regular status updates, photos or videos. At least not yet. Video actually seems like something people would want to save more than anything, as it takes time to watch a video. With Facebook recently getting into video advertising, this would seem especially critical to the feature. Perhaps it will come later.
The feature does support sponsored posts, so that's good news for Facebook advertisers. If you're promoting a compelling enough link, you might get the click later, even if the user doesn't click when they first encounter the ad. In fact, this is all the more reason to promote truly interesting content.
The lesson here is that Facebook is already driving more traffic to sites, while all the other platforms are driving less than they were before (at least according to this particular study), and that was before you could save links.
Do you expect your Facebook traffic to increase? Do you think the Save feature is a big deal for content creators? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Images via Shareaholic