A report released Thursday by Shareaholic, a maker of digital tools that help sites promote their content, tracked 200,000 publishers reaching 250 million people monthly to understand how it is that Facebook drives the most social referral traffic.
This is the second installment in October's Social Media Traffic Report. Last month, Facebook referrals accounted for more than 10 percebt of the overall traffic publishers received. By comparison, Pinterest, which ranks 2nd in the list of social traffic sources, referred only 3.7 percent.
Before we dive into the data, let us take a look at numbers Facebook recently disclosed in its 3rd quarter earnings call. WSJ reported,
Mobile monthly active users were 874 million, up from 819 a quarter ago and 604 million a year ago.
and the NY Times said,
The company's revenue rose 60 percent, to $2.02 billion, compared with last year's third quarter. Most of that, about $1.8 billion, came from advertising.
Perhaps most important for Facebook's future as an advertising-driven company in a world of iPads and Android smartphones, the company noted that mobile ads accounted for 49 percent of its advertising revenue, up from 41 percent in the second quarter. Facebook said prices for mobile ads remained high, and users were clicking on them in their news feeds more frequently.
Now, let's look at the data collected by Shareaholic.
In a year's time, Facebook referrals grew 58.81 percent. But how did Facebook referrals grow so much?
The short answer: Facebook mobile
The above chart shows how much traffic Facebook sent to publishers (as a percentage of overall visits publishers received) in the last 13 months next to how much traffic Facebook mobile -- alone -- sent.
What do the numbers mean?
1) Publishers saw traffic from Facebook mobile users grow 253 percent. Earlier this year, Facebook also published interesting information that revealed three things. One, the number of active Facebook mobile users grew. Two, Facebook users are liking more links on their feed. Three, Facebook users are sharing more stories with their friends.
2) More than half of Facebook's referral traffic growth came from mobile. If we take a closer look at the numbers, we see Facebook's overall growth increased by 3.84 percentage points. Facebook mobile alone grew 1.98 percentage points. Who knew all these tiny devices were so powerful?
It is clear that Facebook mobile usage is growing and that smartphone adoption is on the rise. Therefore, you should make sure your sites are not just mobile compatible, but mobile optimized in order to provide a comfortable browsing experience for all visitors.
As a member of the "now" society, I am constantly plugged in (I blame my smartphone). I often catch myself reading articles on my mobile as I'm sitting at my desk with a dual-monitor setup. If I'm reading several stories back-to-back, I only ever switch to my PC if it takes more than a vertical scroll to consume all of the information I'm looking for.
The bottom line is: Make sure your site is fully optimized for mobile browsing. Let's face it. No one really enjoys pinching and zooming, or finger dragging, to read or see anything. Your visitors will thank you for it.
How much traffic has Facebook driven to your site in the last year? Let's discuss in the comments!