In recent months there have been several reports that Facebook is a dying network that can’t stem the flood of teens leaving it for instant messaging apps.

However last week we published data which showed that Facebook is still hugely popular among all demographics, particularly on mobile, and now a separate report shows that Facebook is still easily the most important social network for referral traffic.

The data from Shareaholic examines the breakdown of overall referral traffic for more than 200,000 websites in Q4 2013.

Facebook easily comes out on top with an average of 13.8% of overall referral traffic, followed by Pinterest on 4.3%.

Twitter was third for social referrals with 1.1% in Q4, while Google+ came last with just 0.05%.

In fact G+ was outranked by StumbleUpon, Reddit and YouTube, which adds more weight to the suggestion that it shouldn’t really be seen as a social network in the traditional sense, but simply as an online identity card that connects Google’s other products.

Visual content

While Facebook’s position as the top social referrer is to be expected, it may come as a surprise to see Pinterest in second place.

We’ve previously reported several case studies that show the potential that Pinterest has for driving traffic to ecommerce sites, yet many major brands still choose to focus their social efforts elsewhere. 

The reason for this is obvious, as Facebook and Twitter have much larger audiences and are far more effective in terms of gaining brand exposure.

However this new data shows that brands can’t afford to ignore Pinterest as a potential traffic source. 

Luckily it shouldn’t be too much of a leap to come up with an effective Pinterest strategy, as Facebook and Twitter have both begun to place greater focus on visual content in the past few years.

For example, updates that include an image are given greater prominence in Facebook’s newsfeed, while Twitter has begun to automatically preview photos in users’ feeds.

Therefore brands that are using Facebook and Twitter effectively should already have some eye-catching imagery that can also be shared on Pinterest.

You can read full details of Shareaholic’s new report here.

David Moth

Published 27 January, 2014 by David Moth

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn

1719 more posts from this author

You might be interested in

Comments (1)



thanks for publish

over 4 years ago

Save or Cancel

Enjoying this article?

Get more just like this, delivered to your inbox.

Keep up to date with the latest analysis, inspiration and learning from the Econsultancy blog with our free Digital Pulse newsletter. You will receive a hand-picked digest of the latest and greatest articles, as well as snippets of new market data, best practice guides and trends research.