Less than 1% of Web Site Visits Come from Social Media

True or false, lawmarketing blogI was surprised to read read that less than 1% of web site visits come from social media, according to research findings released by ForeSee Results and reported by The Social Graf

I'm not sure I believe the results because this would mean that online social networks are a flop at driving traffic to websites. 

Checking my own traffic logs for this blog, I find that Twitter is among the top ten sources of visitors. I use Twitter a lot and include headlines and links to new posts on this blog, so readers are definitely clicking on the links.

Yet The Social Graf blog reports that fewer than 1% of visits to Web sites come directly from a social media URL.  When I read the actual ForeSee report, it says that "Only about 5% of online holiday shoppers report being primarily influenced to visit top retailer sites by social media." So somebody doesn't have their facts straight.

The alleged disparity between the proportion of Web site traffic coming from social media and search is even more remarkable when you remember that people spend more time overall on social media. Clearly, search remains a more effective platform for connecting consumers directly to Web sites (provided, of course, marketers are diligent in areas like SEO and SEM.)

For more on these surprising findings see here. Tell me if your experience matches what the reported statistics claim.


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Richard Vetstein - April 8, 2011 9:55 PM

This study is misleading. My law blog (http://massrealestatelawblog.com) gets about 25% of traffic coming from social media, primarily Facebook. But my blog is pretty well integrated with social media, with Facebook and twitter plugins, and automatic posting to both of those networks.

It really depends how much focus you as the website owner put on leveraging social media. It's inbound so if you put a greater emphasis on promoting your content through Facebook and twitter you should see decent returns from those channels.

Richard D. Vetstein, Esq.

@Drivelry - April 9, 2011 1:00 AM

My problem with these findings is firstly that they may be discounting the difficulties of tracking from a technical perspective and secondly they don't square with what I see on a big legal site I'm associated with.

On the tracking front social media clients like Tweetdeck don't pass you any kind of referrer to know where the click came from, and similarly if the user right clicks on a link to open it in a new tab you have no idea where the traffic came from.

Even where you embed a bunch of parameters on urls e.g. blog.larrybodine.com/my+article?source=twitter people will use the parameters they want to use and the link they want to use (i.e. they go onto your website and share a link from there they're not sharing a parameterised link).

There are some estimates out there on the web that Twitter traffic may be under-represented by triple digit percentages.

On the second point a large legal website I'm involved with (even despite the tracking limitations referred to above) shows that Twitter for example as one of our top 7 largest referring websites).

I note a while ago you were not very keen on Twitter as a legal marketing tool but appear to have since changed your mind so I figure you also have some degree of skepticism about these findings. (-:

Reply from Larry Bodine: Good points Mike. I put the statistical report out there to see what the reaction would be. I use Twitter a lot and find that in the traffic logs on this blog, Twitter is one of the sources of traffic (although it's way behind Google).

RhondaLNC - April 9, 2011 8:37 PM

This is true, I completely agree with it. There are several blogs that get the majority of their visits from social media. The user above says most of his traffic comes from facebook. However, he that is only one website. The truth is that the vast majority of websites don't get visitors the same way. A lot of websites like my blog (www.howtobecomealegalnurseconsultant.com) do not even have a use for social media. In fact I would say that the majority of blogs on the web today still don't have social media because they are not brands.

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