According to a a new study release by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, Facebook is becoming increasingly important as traffic sources of mainstream media outlets.
For five of the news Websites studied here, Facebook ranked as the second or third most popular driver to their content. At the top was Huffingtonpost.com, which derived 8% of its traffic from links to Huffingtonpost.com content posted on Facebook. At the low end were AOLNews.com, MSNBC.com and the local aggregator Topix, which each derived 1% from Facebook. The New York Times was near the higher part of the spectrum; 6% of its traffic came from Facebook. Of the top 21 sites for which there were data, Twitter showed up as referring links to just nine. And for all but one of those nine, Twitter sent only about 1% of total traffic.
These statistics really surprised me (as in they seemed extremely low to me), so I ran some quick stats on Texas Tech Today. From January through May, percentage by traffic source:
Referrals when compared year-over-year to 2011:
- http://www.ttu.edu dropped nearly 20%
- Facebook increased nearly 60%
- Twitter dropped
So can Texas Tech really be outperforming mainstream media? Perhaps our audience wants a closer relationship with us than they do with the Huffington Post. The only surprise here is the Twitter stat because we autopost all headlines to our Twitter stream, then repost the most interesting ones. A trend to watch and a stat to improve on. Share your thoughts and stats!
Download the full comparison report (pdf): texas-tech-today-social-media-traffic