Social media: referral traffic vs. engagement

Social media: traffic versus engagement

Facebook and Pinterest may drive a lot of traffic to websites, but they don’t do quite as well in converting those clicks into engagement. If you want your social media visitors to stick around on your site, you are best off using YouTube, Google Plus, and Linkedin.

Shareaholic created two very interesting reports:

One report praises Facebook and Pinterest. The other report praises YouTube and Google Plus. Put the two reports side-by-side and the some insights start to illuminate from the social media landscape.

Youtube rules post-click engagement
Why would YouTube give such great engagement on websites after the click? Perhaps when a user is on YouTube, they are already in a frame of mind where they can sit down and spend time. The average length of the top 50 YouTube videos is 2 minutes 54 seconds. Whereas a post or pin only takes seconds to view. When someone clicks on a link on YouTube, it would make sense the viewer would spend more time on your site.

Rare users on Google Plus mean quality users?
I can’t quite explain why people clicking on Google Plus links would have more time on those sites. Google Plus always seems like people are just there to click the “+1” button. Maybe since it’s so rare for people to actually click on an article link in Google Plus, that it means this person is really truly interested in reading the article. People on Twitter and Facebook would be much more apt to just skim and leave.

Why is Pinterest so low? 
Pinterest is another confusing one on the engagement list. you’d think users would spend much more time after clicking on a Pinterest link. Activities like reading instructions to a DIY project, digesting a recipe, viewing a web gallery of photos–all take time after the initial click on Pinterest. Yet, Pinterest ranks low on post-click engagement.

Shareaholic does a great job explaining in detail all the reasons why each social media channel does well in referrals and post-click engagement. Make sure to give their posts a read.

Avoid using reddit? 
However, the author’s viewpoint on reddit is rather amusing:

For marketers, Reddit is a tough nut to crack. Its uber-loyal users are increasingly selective about the content that gets upvoted and are eager to downvote things they disagree with. Effectively, Reddit hates marketing. In the past, I’ve even encouraged site owners to quit Reddit. Naturally, I applaud (and envy) brands and businesses that do it right.

This opinion rings very true. Reddit is extremely fickle and hates marketing. But I personally find it to be one of my largest traffic drivers. Whenever I post a link on reddit, I’m guaranteed at least 100 to 200 clicks. In some cases up to 1,000. I’ve had a couple links reach the homepage which drew 3,000 to 5,000 visits. While those visits are nice, the author is correct. Barely any of those visitors will convert over to subscribers or view other pages on your site. But if you manage to really connect with the reddit spirit, you might end up like the webcomic xkcd with its own reddit community dedicated to the webcomic.

What are your experiences with post-click engagement on various social media channels?

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1 thought on “Social media: referral traffic vs. engagement”

  1. Forrester reports that Instagram is the king of social engagement.

    The Sharaholic report covered Youtube, Google+, Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Reddit, and Stumbleupon (that’s in order of best to worst). So why is Instagram missing from that mix? Because Instagram photos don’t have links to external websites. No post-click engagement without the click. Heh.

    Perhaps that’s part of the reason why Instagram blows all the others out of the water–because there’s no external link to click on. You are forced to engage within the service. The question remains: is that engagement within the service valuable to the brand? I’d say yes, but man, it’s hard to deal with not having external links in Instagram.

    A big shout-out to the PNConnect blog for posting a link to the Forrester report. Everyone should subscribe to the PNConnect blog. They share great links and give insight along with each link.

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