Facebook, Pinterest Drive Significantly More Traffic To Publishers Than Other Social Networks

Facebook and Pinterest account for substantially more referral traffic to publishers’ websites than they did last year, and keep growing their lead in referral volume over other social platforms.

  • Facebook now accounts for more than 10% of traffic referred to publishers’ websites, compared to 6.5% last year.
  • Pinterest is referring nearly 4% of traffic to publishers’ websites, compared to just over 2% last year.
  • Pinterest increased its share of referral traffic by 67% over last year (more than any other social network).
  • Together, Facebook and Pinterest refer more traffic to publisher sites than Twitter, StumbleUpon, Reddit, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Google+ combined.

The findings are based on two years of data collected by Shareaholic from 200,000 publishers that use its share buttons and widgets. Shareaholic includes search engine and direct traffic in its calculations, so the percentages above are each social network’s percentage of all traffic to these publishers.

We attribute Pinterest’s success to three factors: overall user growth (particularly on mobile devices), brands adopting the platform for marketing, and Internet users’ preference for sharing photos over text. In fact, Pinterest is close to overtaking email as the third-most popular sharing channel behind Facebook and Twitter.

Pinterest management is focusing on the platform’s strengths. The company recently announced its own advertising platform and an update to “Article Pins,” which allow users to share stories they find on the Web.

Although Twitter processes large volumes of link-sharing, it doesn’t necessarily mean users are clicking on those links, as they seem to be on Pinterest. In an amended S-1 filing, Twitter management said they are wary of users’ “perceived decline in the quality of content” on the platform.

Download the chart and data in Excel.

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