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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.
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.