Has Google been driving most of the traffic to your website? “Yes it has”. If that is your answer, you know that it’s a great way to drive people to your content. It’s going to stay that way till some software engineer evolves a product that will change the way news is presented, accessed and shared online. That’s a far cry right now. Put aside the thought for once that you can drive traffic via Google. What next? What is the one thing you can bank on right after that? Not Yahoo! But Facebook has made it as
the second best way to drive traffic to a news website.
A Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism looked at how readers consumed news online during the first nine months of 2010. They used statistics from the Nielsen Co. Turns out, while Google is a great way to drive news traffic, Facebook is also being used to increase the number of unique
and repeat visitors. This study considered the 25 most popular news websites in the United States. It studied aspects such as how users get to the sites, how long they are there, how deep do they go into the website and where they go when they leave. About 40% of the traffic on the top 25 came from outside referrals. Of this, Google Search accounted for 30% of all traffic. However, for most of these websites Facebook was the second or third largest driver of traffic. On the contrary, Twitter did not come across as a significant driver of traffic.
A primary reason for Facebook making it as a source of traffic is its Open Graph API. As users share links, it drives more traffic. However, in all likelihood this results in ‘casual visitors’ who spend only a few minutes on the
website. It’s also notable that for all 25 websites that were studied, 77% of the traffic comprised one-time
or few-time visitors.
The loyal visitors, whom the study calls ‘power users’ were fewer in number. They visited 10 times a month and
spent more than an hour there.