Facebook Leads Social Traffic, Pinterest Second

Social media marketing is one of the most effective ways to increase traffic to your website. But forget sites like Twitter, Reddit, StumbleUpon and LinkedIn. A new report reveals that Facebook and Pinterest — and maybe even Google+ — are your safest bets.

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Content sharing and amplification platform Shareaholic released this week its quarterly social media traffic report, indicating that Facebook drives the most traffic to websites, with Pinterest being its strongest contender. Google+, though further down the totem pole, is also on the rise. However, channels like StumbleUpon, Reddit, YouTube and LinkedIn probably aren't worth your time or dime, the report revealed.

Shareaholic's report includes both quarterly and year-on-year data covering activities across more than 200,000 websites and 250 million unique visitors. Here are the key takeaways. [20 Social Media Marketing Solutions for Small Businesses]

Facebook is a traffic gold mine ...

Facebook is still king when it comes to converting social media marketing campaigns to website visits. It drives four times as much traffic as Pinterest, its closest social traffic competitor, and blows away other social networks. This is due, in part, to Facebook's ability to deliver highly personalized content that customers actually care about. Shareaholic says Facebook's share of traffic has "exploded," growing 115.63 percent since September of last year and driving 22.36 percent of overall traffic to websites.

… But watch out for Pinterest

Pinterest may not be as big as Facebook or Twitter, but with an estimated 70 million users — and a huge following among American women — it drives far more traffic than Twitter and is creeping up on Facebook. Pinterest is now the second-largest social traffic referrer, driving 5.52 percent of total visits. That's a 50.07 percent growth since last year, blazing past Twitter, Reddit and StumbleUpon.

Twitter may not be the way to go

Twitter marketing is far from ineffective, but its share of social traffic has steadily declined. The microblogging website has referred only 1.17 percent of social traffic to websites, down 24.97 percent over the past year. Because of this, Twitter is "losing influence and clout," Shareaholic found.

And the other five are 'forgettable'

Shareholic considers StumbleUpon, Reddit, Google+, YouTube and LinkedIn to be in a class of their own. Combined, these channels drove less than 1 percent of overall traffic in the last month alone. Individually, the numbers speak for themselves:

  • StumbleUpon. Peaked at .99 percent of traffic referrals in September 2013, but sank to 0.41 percent in March 2014, for a 26.49 percent year-on-year share decrease.
  • Reddit. Plummeted 30.56 percent from September 2013 to September 2014, with traffic shares declining from .26 percent to .18 percent.
  • YouTube. Once the fifth-highest driver of social media traffic, the video-sharing platform's traffic shares plunged more than 87 percent over the past year. It only accounts for .04 percent of traffic as of September 2014.
  •  LinkedIn. Like YouTube, LinkedIn drives only .04 percent of traffic. This is down 47.37 percent since September 2013.

There may still be hope for Google+, however. Besides Facebook and Pinterest, it's the only other social media channel that has experienced growth in traffic referrals. Google+'s traffic shares increased 57.02 percent, making a "modest" gain from .04 percent to .07 percent over the past year.

Originally published on Business News Daily.