Facebook still top platform for social shares but Pinterest on the rise

03/11/2014

Facebook is the main social media source of traffic to other websites by a huge margin, but Pinterest is now in second place, according to new research.

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The data, from social discovery and sharing platform Shareaholic, details the traffic stats from eight of its largest social media websites for Q3 of 2014.

The research indicates that Facebook still pushes over 22 percent of traffic on average.
Its closest follower, Pinterest, is over four times less, at 5 percent, while Twitter is now down to less than one percent of referrals.

The chart above details the changes throughout the quarter more precisely, with the two rightmost columns displaying the overall difference in the amount of visits gained or lost through each platform.

Shareaholic sources its data from over 300,000 websites for a total clout of over 400 million users. These sites range from small independent blogs to large commercial websites of varying audiences, giving it a powerful sample size to create its data.

Year over year, Facebook’s influence grew 115 percent and Pinterest 50 percent, while Twitter decreased 24 percent.

Despite having the most established user base, Facebook continues to drive more traffic due to a general increase in social media traffic referrals – people rely less on search engines and other sources to get the news they care about now.

Pinterest’s influence is notable, however, given that its network is only comprised of about 70 million users – Facebook dials in at over a billion.

Twitter, on the other hand, seems to have plateaued. Since September of 2013, its share of social media referrals has fallen from 1.17 percent to just 0.88 percent.

The rest of the top social networks have slipped significantly according to Shareaholic’s data, which the company pulls from the 300,000 sites that use its software. Twitter’s share has slipped 0.29 percentage points and 24% since last September, dropping to 0.88. That’s still twice as high as fourth-place Stumble Upon.

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Here are four key takeaways from the data, as show on Sharaholic’s blog:

1. Facebook leads the pack, driving 4 times as much traffic to sites as Pinterest does

• For businesses, Facebook is a gold mine of audience data and content distribution. For users, it is a highly personalized window into the things/topics/news they care about. In sum, Facebook is everything.

• Driving 22.36% of overall traffic to sites, Facebook’s share of traffic has exploded in the last year. Since September 2013, its share has increased 115.63% (11.99 percentage points) from 10.37%. While it didn’t experience significant gains over Q3, there is still plenty of room for growth.

2. Pinterest is coming for Facebook’s throne

• Pinterest, while wildly popular among American women, hasn’t yet scaled to the size of its competitors. Even still, with an estimated 70 million users, it has firmly secured its position as the 2nd largest referrer of social traffic.

• In September, Pinterest delivered 5.52% of total visits sites received. Over the past year, its share of traffic has grown 50.07% (up 1.84 percentage points), giving it a noticeable lead over Twitter, StumbleUpon and Reddit.

3. Twitter is losing influence and clout

• On a mission to be more like Facebook, Twitter may have lost its way.
• Since September 2013, Twitter’s share has steadily declined from 1.17% (its 13-month high) to 0.88% (its 13-month low) last month. This is a loss of 0.29 percentage points (down 24.97%).

4. StumbleUpon, Reddit, Google Plus, YouTube, and LinkedIn are in a category all their own

• For most publishers, marketers and site owners, the five remaining social networks are forgettable sources of traffic. Collectively, they contributed 0.74% of overall traffic sites received last month, which is less than the number of visits Twitter alone sent.

• Over the past 13 months, StumbleUpon’s share of traffic peaked at 0.99%, in March 2014, and last month sunk to a low of 0.41%. Year-over-year, its share decreased 26.49% (a loss of 0.15 percentage points) down from 0.56%.

• Comparing September 2013 to September 2014, Reddit’s share went from 0.26% to 0.18%. Shrinking 30.56%, Reddit lost 0.08 percentage points.

• Google Plus may still live on. In fact, in the last year, it saw modest gains, increasing its share of traffic 57.02% (0.03 percentage points) to 0.07% last month, up from 0.04% during the same time last year.

• YouTube was the biggest loser. Shedding 87.27% of its weight (0.25 percentage points), it once claimed 5th place above Reddit but now ties for 7th with LinkedIn. In September 2013, YouTube drove 0.29% of overall traffic to sites. Last month, it only drove 0.04%.

• While LinkedIn has become a publishing powerhouse, it sends a comparatively low number of social referrals to sites across the web. In September 2014, LinkedIn accounted for 0.04% of overall traffic to sites, down 47.37% (0.03 percentage points) from the same time last year.

Read more about the report on the Shareaholic blog

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