Numerous brands and other publishers are increasingly adopting social media networks like Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB), Twitter Inc. (NYSE:TWTR) and LinkedIn Corp. (NYSE:LNKD) due to heavy user engagement and referral traffic through such sites. The social media titan with a massive 1.189 billion user continues to impress with the king’s share in referral traffic rate from social media sites. Earlier in September 2013, Facebook acounted for 10.37% of overall visits to websites, according to shareholic, which surveyed 200,000 publishers with more than 250 million monthly unique visitors. This figure just rose up to 11.81% in October and an impressive 17.41% in November 2013.
Facebook Inc. (FB) Referral Traffic Increased By 47% In The Last One Month!
Facebook is innovating itself vividly and this has resulted in a spike in referral rate for websites. Earlier it was well-known to drive referral rate to consumer brands and and other B2C firms, recently, it has also intervened into media pushing websites, resulting in a rise in Facebook referral traffic rate by 170% to the media publishers’ websites.
In the table below we can see a remarkable increase in referral traffic rate through Facebook to websites. Earlier in September 2013, Facebook’s share of referral traffic was 10.37% and 2 months later it rose to a whopping 67.8%. Few reasons which could be attributed to these facts are summarized below.
Is The NewsFeed Revamp Influencing The Referral Traffic To Websites ?
With an increasing demand for news consumption by users through various media publishing sites, Facebook recently revamped its news feed algorithm and story bumping feature. From now on, users will see only relevant news on their news feed, based on their interaction and engagement with news feed posts. People enjoy viewing quality content about their favorite brands, companies, celebrities or sports stars, hence Facebook is trying to provide news which a user may find more relevant and exciting to engage with. After users click on a particular news story, 3 more related articles will be shown directly below the NewsFeed post which might interest users.
Even the story bumping feature is updated which highlights any news when a user’s friends or close peers might have initiated a discussion or placed their opinions so that users can also participate in voicing their opinions. This has been one of the prime reasons why users are engaging more, thereby contributing to the increasing referral traffic to websites. The number of shares and likes have increased at an exploding rate in the last couple of months. The number of likes rose to 4.5 billion in the last 12 months and the number of shares marked a record 94% increment from 2.45 billion shares per day (May 2012) to 4.75 billion/day (August 2013).
Facebook’s Revamped Like, Share Button Influencing Referral Traffic Rate?
Facebook recently revised its like and share button to provide better visual effect of the blue palate with F Facebook logo instead of the traditional Facebook thumb. Facebook’s buttons are viewed 22+ billion times a day across 7.5 million sites across the web. People love sharing any interesting articles with their inmates on Facebook and initiate discussions and exchange views and opinions. Facebook was hoping to see an increase in usage of liking or sharing activity due to the revamped feature as they provide better visual experience to users. Also, increasing engagement rate of users is likely to lead to a rise in the referral rate of websites. Sharing posts has become an irresistible activity for most of the Facebook user-base especially teens, who share a lot of posts randomly without much knowledge.
Specific Ad Targeting Initiatives And The Highly Evolved Facebook Mobile Technology, Increasing Referral Traffic Rate!
Robust development in Facebook mobile technology is yet another reason why user engagement is increasing, resulting in a surge in referral traffic rate. More than 874 million users are now accessing Facebook on the mobile platform, which signifies how the mobile technology has evolved for Facebook. Hence, users are more comfortable engaging with various brand websites or media publishing sites on Smartphones and tablets. Facebook recently recorded an epic 253% increment in mobile referral traffic rate to websites.
Specific Ad targeting initiatives by Facebook like the custom audience feature has resulted in increasing engagement as users can see ads of brands which are more relevant to them. Hence, brand engagement rate is higher resulting in increasing referral traffic rate to brand websites. Location based ad targeting or gender based ad targeting are a few other features which have encouraged users to click on the brand ads and visit their website to shop or view products.