Facebook may have admitted (as reported by Ad AgeÂ and charted by Ignite Social Media) that organic reach is declining. But new data from Shareaholic reveals that it’s becoming an even more influential source of traffic for publishers – with a huge increase in the share of visits to Shareaholic’s publisher network coming from Facebook in November, reaching 17.4% of the average site’s overall traffic. In other words, more than 1 in 6 visits to the average publisher came from a Facebook referral. What’s more, that traffic represents organic referrals rather than paid visits, as Facebook continues to dwarf all other social platforms in referral traffic.
Shareaholic reports that the the 17.4% share of visits in November was up from 11.8% in October and 10.4% in September. While Shareaholic hasn’t incorporated Facebook’s new like and share buttons into its arsenal yet, it’s possible that those changes have had an effect, as Shareaholic also tracks inbound traffic through other offerings.
It may be also that Facebook’s News Feed algorithm changes have had an effect, with such changes including bumping up older but popular content and a stated commitment to driving more traffic to news and publishing sites. Another post last week from Facebook indicates that users “may start to notice links to articles a little more often (particularly on mobile),” though the changes mentioned in that post may not have had time to take effect for this particular set of data.
Nevertheless, all of the changes and resulting data suggest that Facebook will become an even more influential source of traffic for publishers, although publishers might not want to become too dependent on algorithm changes. Even so, as Facebook competes with Twitter as a traffic driver, it’s worth remembering that Twitter’s traffic is currently less than half of Facebook’s – from mobile alone.
About the Data: The Shareaholic data is based on 13 months of data collected from 200,000+ publishers who reach 250+ million unique monthly visitors.