Facebook Increases Referral Traffic to Media Sites by 170%, Is the #1 Driver of Social Traffic

Stories to Share Facebook feature

Stories to Share Facebook featureIf you run a media site and are looking to increase referral traffic, Facebook might be your best bet. In a recent blog post Facebook shared referral traffic data from media sites such as TV broadcasters, music startups and publishers that promote their articles through the network. It announced that in the past year referral traffic from Facebook to media sites increased by over 170% on average. Facebook also ran an informal study that suggests posting to your Facebook Page more frequently might drastically increase your referral traffic from and engagement rates on Facebook. To give media Pages a leg up in scoring still more referral traffic, Facebook is launching a new promotions tool called “Stories to Share.”


Facebook Is the Number One Driver of Social Traffic

While Facebook-driven referral traffic to media sites increased by over 170% on average, certain media sites saw explosions in referral traffic over the past year. From September 2012 to September 2013 TIME’s referral traffic increased 208%, BuzzFeed’s by 855% and Bleacher Report by 1081%! This isn’t surprising considering that Facebook drives more social traffic than any other site and has been the only site to steadily increase the amount of traffic it drives from quarter to quarter this year, according to social content tracking site SimpleReach. In Q3, Facebook drove 62.3% of all social traffic across the SimpleReach network, while Twitter drove a mere 27.3%.

social traffic by channel chart


Post More to Facebook, See More Referral Traffic

Over a seven-day period, Facebook ran an experiment with 29 media sites to find out how their referral traffic would be impacted if they posted more articles to Facebook. During that week, the media sites increased the number of articles they posted to their Facebook Pages by 57%. Here are the averaged results:

  • 89% increase in average outbound clicks to their domains
  • 10% increase in Likes per post
  • 49% increase in the number of net fans per Page

While Facebook doesn’t claim that this experiment proves a formula exists for increasing your referral traffic, it suggests that this evidence should prompt Page admins to run similar tests to see how sharing more articles might affect referral traffic to their own sites. Justin Osofsky, VP of Media Partnerships and Global Operations at Facebook, wrote:

While this experiment was run with a small number of media sites and does not represent every type of Facebook page, media sites which posted more frequently saw more traffic. Since every person has a unique relationship with the Pages they are connected to, there‚Äôs no magic number of how many more posts will impact referral traffic for all Facebook pages. Page administrators should test how increased posting impacts their referrals, Likes and overall engagement.”


Stories to Share: A New Tool for Media Pages

Stories to Share Facebook feature

To make it easier for media sites to determine which articles they should post to Facebook, Facebook has begun to test a new featured called Stories to Share. In this new section of the Insights Dashboards in the admin panel, Page administrators of media sites will find articles trending on their site that haven’t yet been shared to Facebook. Page admins will be able to post these suggestions to their Pages directly from their Insights Dashboards.

I’m not sure how useful this feature will be for media Pages, considering most publishers post all of their new content to Facebook anyway. In the future, a more useful extension of this tool might be to include trending articles from similar Pages so admins can curate interesting stories for their audiences.

Is Facebook a big source of referral traffic for your site?

via Inside Facebook

Lauren Mobertz

By Lauren Mobertz

Lauren is the former managing editor for DashBurst. One part geek, one part urban nomad, she is constantly scouting for the latest tech and world news. In the evenings you'll find Lauren running in strange places or attempting to dance salsa.

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