Facebook Dominates Social Traffic Referrals, But Pinterest’s Stature Grows

Shareaholic-Social-Traffic-Referrals-Sep2012-2013-Oct2013Facebook is easily the leading social referrer of traffic, confirms a new report from Shareaholic, which analyzed 13 months of data collected from 200,000 publishers reaching more than 250 million unique monthly visitors. Referring more than 10% of site traffic to the publishers, Facebook’s share of referrals has grown by 58.8% since September of last year (6.53%). But it’s Pinterest that has demonstrated the most rapid growth over that time period, with its share of traffic growing by 66.5% to 3.68%. In fact Pinterest now drives more traffic than Twitter, StumbleUpon, Reddit, and others – combined.

(And yes, the same can be said for Facebook, which drives more traffic than all others including Pinterest, combined.)

Despite strong growth in referral share from Twitter (+54.1%), it only drove 1.2% of site visits in September 2013. Meanwhile StumbleUpon, which began the study period essentially on par with Twitter, has seen its share of referrals decline by 27.5% to less than 0.6% last month. Reddit appears to be suffering a similar fate, down 35.2% over that 13-month span to just 0.26% of site visits. In fact, during the final 4 months of the study period, YouTube (+52.9% over the 13-month period) accounted for a greater share of site referrals than Reddit, despite Reddit having referred almost twice as much traffic at the start of the period.

Meanwhile, although LinkedIn (+34.5%) and Google+ (+7%) are growing their share of referrals, they remain bit players, accounting for less than 0.1% of site visits last month.

It’s worth noting that the data represents a subset of publishers – however large – and may skew towards a certain type of website. For example, LinkedIn likely plays a larger role in B2B-focused sites than shown in this report. Recent data from Monetate also suggests that StumbleUpon refers more e-commerce traffic than Twitter.

Nevertheless, it’s worthwhile looking at how these platforms have trended over the analyzed time period and publisher sample.