Referral Traffic: Facebook And Twitter Lead As Google Lags Behind.

Nov.13.13 | About: Facebook (FB)

According to the latest report by Shareaholic (see the chart below), Facebook was way ahead of its competitors in sending referral traffic to the publishers during the twelve months ended September 2013.

In simple words the publishers are likely to get more referrals from Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) then any other social networking site.

Click to enlarge

According to the report, which is based on 13 months of data collected from about 200,000 publishers who reach more than 250 million unique monthly visitors, Facebook sent 2.5 times more referral traffic than its nearest competitor Pinterest and nearly 135 times more referral traffic than Google+ (NASDAQ:GOOG) (see the table below).

Social Media Traffic Referrals

 

13-Months Average Sept 12 - Sept 13

Growth from Sept 12 - Sept 13

% share

Facebook

8.11%

58.81%

58.56%

Pinterest

3.24%

66.52%

23.39%

Twitter

1.17%

54.12%

8.45%

StumbleUpon

0.58%

-27.47%

4.19%

Reddit

0.36%

-35.16%

2.60%

YouTube

0.26%

52.86%

1.88%

LinkedIn

0.07%

34.51%

0.51%

Google+

0.06%

6.97%

0.43%

Click to enlarge

Facebook vs Other

Facebook Traffic Referrals (No. of times)

Pinterest

2.50

Twitter

6.93

StumbleUpon

13.98

Reddit

22.53

YouTube

31.19

LinkedIn

115.86

Google+

135.17

Click to enlarge

Facebook vs Twitter (NYSE:TWTR):

Twitter has over 218 million monthly active users (MAUs) as compared to over 1.18 billion MAUs of Facebook. Facebook has about 5.45 times more MAUs as compared to Twitter.

Facebook has much higher user-engagement than Twitter due to much more services offered by Facebook. Facebook sent about 7 times more referral traffic than Twitter to the publisher's sites. Considering the fact that the user-engagement of Twitter is much lower than Facebook; Twitter's performance was remarkable.

Facebook vs YouTube:

Facebook and YouTube both have over billion MAUs but Facebook sent 31 times more referral traffic than YouTube. This means Facebook is monetizing its user-base much more effectively as compared to YouTube.

Facebook vs Google+:

Google+ has over 530 million MAUs. Facebook has about 2.25 times more MAUs as compared to Google+, but Facebook sent 135 times more referral traffic than Google+. This means Google+ is its very early stages of its user-base monetization.

Facebook vs LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD):

LinkedIn has over 180* million MAUs. Facebook has about 6.5 times more MAUs as compared to LinkedIn, but Facebook sent 115 times more referral traffic than LinkedIn. Considering the fact that LinkedIn main revenue sources are its talent solutions and subscription services this is a satisfactory performance.

*Includes the impact of Slideshare.

Conclusion:

The success of any social network depends on its commercial success. Asset (user-base) monetization is the key issue for all social networking sites. No site can just monetize its user-base by merely placing ads. The users interaction with the ads is the key criteria, which shows how well a network is placing its ads. The clicks on the referral links shows the user interaction with the ads. More clicks reflects the success of the site as it gives better outcome to advertiser. This ad placement depends on different algorithms, technologies and strategies.

Facebook is most prominent social networking site when it comes to the referral traffic due to its huge user-base, higher user-engagement and most importantly better technology. Twitter is doing remarkably well with its decent user-base but with much lower user-engagement. Google (Google+ and YouTube) is lagging behind big time and will have to do a lot of work if it wants to catch up with competitors.

The data from the most recent month (September 2013) showed that Facebook is gaining ground against its all competitors (see the table below). An excellent news for Facebook but a big worry for Google.

Social Media Traffic Referrals

   

% share

 
 

Share of visits September, 2013

September, 2013

13-Months Average (Sept 12 - Sept 13)

% change

Facebook

10.37%

63.08%

58.56%

4.52%

Pinterest

3.68%

22.38%

23.39%

-1.01%

Twitter

1.17%

7.12%

8.45%

-1.33%

StumbleUpon

0.56%

3.41%

4.19%

-0.78%

Reddit

0.26%

1.58%

2.60%

-1.02%

YouTube

0.29%

1.76%

1.88%

-0.12%

LinkedIn

0.07%

0.43%

0.51%

-0.08%

Google+

0.04%

0.24%

0.43%

-0.19%

   

100%

100%

 
Click to enlarge

Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn all are doing well when it comes to the asset monetization. Google is facing some issues and is lagging behind.

All in all, the data showed the strength of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn in the social networking space. The data also exposed the weakness of Google in the social networking space.

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