Social Media Marketing Drives Little Traffic

In today’s online marketing environment, social media marketing is a big buzz word. everybody is a social media expert, and everybody has a strategy to leverage your social media presence…

Except it doesn’t do much good yet.

We’ve been dubious about the value of social media marketing for some time now, and it’s nice to finally have some numbers to back up our feeling. Now, thanks to a report by Outbrain, it’s become pretty clear that social media, whatever its other benefits, doesn’t drive much traffic to your site.

Facebook Refers 2% Of Site Traffic

That’s right. Just about 2% of traffic on a content site is likely to come from Facebook. Twitter drives only 1% and Digg brings only 0.32%.

By far the biggest referrer of all traffic is, (surprise), Google, followed by AOL, Yahoo and then Bing.

According to the study, (which you can find here), search accounts for approximately 41% of traffic referrals, site content accounts for 31%, and all social media combined accounts for only 11% of website traffic.

It’s also interesting to note that social media referred traffic has the lowest number of page views, and the highest bounce rate, per session.

Why Doesn’t Social Media Drive Traffic

Well, for a start, despite the tone of this article, it does drive some traffic. And the amount does seem to have grown a little, leaving the question of how useful social media marketing is still up in the air.

The options are that it will either start driving increasing traffic, or it will slowly drive less traffic.

One possible reason for relatively low referrals from social media is that people just aren’t that interested in leaving their social environment in order to go and look at other things. Another, is that they notice the headlines, without looking deeper to find the links.

Perhaps it’s just that people are a lot more sensitive today to what is effectively an advert than they have been in the past.

Don’t Give Up

This doesn’t mean that you should abandon your social media marketing of course. Despite its popularity, I think we can see that the jury is really still out on this. My guess is that people promote it so hard simply because it’s the current big trend. And yes, the net might be moving that way. Social media is still important on the branding side of things…getting people to know about your business and offering.

And of course, there’s still the slightly elusive SEO value of social media…Google says it pays attention to links from Twitter for example.

That said however, don’t expect your social media efforts to bring a lot of traffic to your website. If you’re looking for traffic, embarking on a good SEO strategy will bring you a lot more visitors than tweets or Facebook likes.

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