Report Finds YouTube To Be Biggest Loser Of 2014 For Social Media Traffic Referrals

Chris CrumSocial Media

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Each quarter, we look at Shareaholic's reports on social media traffic referrals, which give us an idea of how eight different social media platforms are performing in terms of driving traffic to websites. The latest one came out on Monday morning, and shows that Pinterest has plateaued and that StumbleUpon is the only platform besides Facebook to experience growth in the quarter (again, in terms of share of referral traffic).

Besides looking at the last quarter, this particular report looks at the whole of 2014 and compares December 2014 to December 2011. YouTube is declared the biggest loser on every count.

Just looking at last quarter, YouTube traffic referrals fell 65.49% according to the report.

They fell 93.24% between December 2013 and December 2014 and 94.76% between December 2011 and December 2014.

"YouTube was the year’s biggest loser; its share was annihilated, dropping 93.24% (0.18 percentage points). It currently clings onto a 0.01% share of overall traffic," writes Shareaholic's Danny Wong.

"Though YouTube delivers the most engaged social visitors, it drives the fewest," he says. "Since 2011, YouTube experienced a sharp drop (94.76%, 0.23 percentage points) in share of traffic. Formerly, it maintained a 0.24% share, which is now a paltry 0.01%. For brands and publishers, video is hard (and expensive) to create, but that’s not stopping anyone. Video is a necessary storytelling medium. The fact is: YouTube is no longer the sole gatekeeper of video views. With auto-play videos, Facebook has cannibalized YouTube’s traffic share. Thankfully, this is more a problem for YouTube than it is for you. To maximize the potential reach of your videos, you can (and should) publish them to Facebook and to YouTube."

As a matter of fact, we posted an article about that very point last week. We spoke with marketing consultant Brian Honigman, who said, "Right now I don’t think either necessarily should come ‘first'.I would say to either use them in conjunction (like Buzzfeed does) to get as many views as possible, or to use one to compliment the other.”

“While Facebook can be counted on for viral lift, if your video doesn’t ‘pop’ on Facebook it will vanish pretty quickly, whereas slow and steady evergreen content can pay dividends for a long time on YouTube,” he added.

Earlier this month, Facebook revealed that the number of video posts per person has increased 75% globally and 94% in the US.

Shortly thereafter, SocialBakers reported that brands on Facebook posted 20,000 more Facebook videos than YouTube videos last month.

Globally, 65% of Facebook’s video views happen on mobile. Facebook attributes this to faster connectivity, cheaper access, better phone screens, etc.

“The most important thing to remember when creating video for Facebook is that it will be a part of News Feed,” the company says. “As a creator, you should be conscious that people will discover your video in News Feed next to a photo from a friend or a status update from a relative. Your video needs to fit in, and it needs to be something that your audience will want to watch and share.”

“With the launch of auto-play and the surge in mobile use, it’s also important to focus on posting videos that grab people from the first frame of video,” it adds. “Shorter, timely video content tends to do well in News Feed. Keep in mind that auto-play videos play silently in News Feed until someone taps to hear sound, so videos that catch people’s attention even without sound often find success.”

Facebook sent 24.63% of all visits to websites as measured by Shareaholic in December 2014. Its share grew 277.26% compared to December 2011.

Images via YouTube, Shareaholic, Facebook, SocialBakers

Chris Crum

Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.