Marketing Madness

Social Media Traffic Exposed

So much to do, so little time.

What should I do, Ana? Is it still a good time to jump into Twitter? Should I stop using Facebook? Do I need to start paying more attention to Google+?

Social media is nothing new to any marketer.

We all know its power for networking, traffic generation, keeping up with the industry news, and even letting your family and friends know that you are still alive and kicking.

However, the choices abound and the time is short.

Whether you’ve been using social media for your business for a while or are a complete newbie to it, now, with Google+ on the scene, is as a good time as ever to take a closer look at which social media platforms to keep and which ones to give a boot in the rear.

Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ – let’s start with Facebook.

Facebook Traffic Generation

Can’t take a step in any direction these days without stumbling upon discussions as to whether Facebook will endure the introduction of Google+.

Facebook itself seems to think that it’s got something to worry about. Just take a look at all the recent updates it’s been rolling out like red carpet at Oscar’s.

My advice here is forget about the hype.

Remember, it doesn’t really matter whether FB is here to stay or not. The only thing that should matter to us is whether it PRODUCES TRAFFIC and whether the traffic is targeted enough to make it worth your time.

Here is how we are going to check for that: Google Analytics.

From your GA dashboard, go to Traffic Sources ==> Referring Sites.

Here are my top 5 referring sites as of the writing of this post:

social media referral traffic

Notice that Facebook is the fifth largest source – behind both Google+ and Twitter.

However, let’s not judge the book by its cover.

You want to take a closer look at all the statistics to REALLY see if Facebook is worth its salt – and this goes for every traffic generation source you are analyzing.

  1. Compare visits per page with the overall number of visits per page for your entire site, as well as how it stacks up against the other sources.
  2. Take a look at the average time on site – do your Facebook visitors stick around or flee your site like a rat off the sinking ship (by the way, this might indicate the problem with your site, not the traffic source).
  3. Percentage of new visits: doesn’t really indicate how qualified the traffic is, but does give you an insight into how good you are at expanding your reach. You want your readership to grow, don’t you?
  4. Bounce rate: once again, this number can certainly tell you how targeted your visitors are (after all, can’t sell a burger to a vegetarian, right?), but also might mean that you need to make some changes to your site. After all, if you are targeting your social media visitors as best as you can, yet they still don’t stick around when they pay you a visit, they simply might not like what they see.

Looking at my numbers, my conclusion is that it’s way too early to write Facebook off. It still produces a healthy amount of traffic and that traffic seems to be better qualified and has some good sticking power over the other sources.

Once again, see how YOUR Facebook visitors measure up against your other sources of traffic.

Just because the numbers point to a certain conclusion on my site, doesn’t mean you’ll get the same results when analyzing your stats.

Now that you have an idea of what YOUR Facebook traffic is worth to you and your traffic generation, here’s something just for fun: a friend of mine Sean Si of polled a few bloggers like Kristi Hines, Rand Fishkin, Dan Christo, and Zarko Zivkovic on the merits of FB vs Google+: Should you use Google Plus over Facebook?

Twitter Traffic Generation

Twitter, Twitter, Twitter…

I have a love-hate relationship with it – always did.

I was a late bloomer. Just didn’t get it for a long time.

Then I got it. My traffic from Twitter was incredible. My largest source of referral traffic.

Where’s the “hate” part?

Too noisy. Too spammy. Too impersonal.

However, as I told you above: forget about your personal feelings and analyze each traffic source for what it is – how much traffic it brings you and what quality that traffic is.

Follow the steps above to see whether your Twitter traffic is worth its salt.

By the way, f you want to learn more about how I drive thousands of Twitter users to Traffic Generation Cafe, read my post on how to get Twitter followers.

Here comes the kicker though: did I just say that Twitter has been my largest referral traffic source?

What about the Google Analytics screenshot above?

Glad you asked.

Here are the facts; you come to your own conclusions.

Here’s a GA screenshot of my referral traffic source before I got on Google+, which was on August 1.

google analytics referral traffic sources

Just to give you a frame of reference, I am writing this post on August 18 – that’s when I took the previous screenshot that shows Twitter below Google+.

I didn’t do anything different as far as my Twitter traffic generation is concerned. Yet, take a look at the numbers…

Which leads me very nicely into discussing our third social media traffic source: the new, the shiny Google Plus.

Google Plus Traffic Generation

I know of many bloggers who are waiting to see how Google Plus holds up first before they jump into it.

One of my readers recently complained that in her niche (work at home moms), no one is rushing to use it at all. And that’s true across the board.

Yet look at the numbers from my GA.

Would you like to add some 1000 visitors to your site in a matter of 18 days?

I don’t hear many no’s.

The very nature of any referral traffic source is this: they are all fly by night.

They only bring you traffic if you work at them. The minute you stop, the traffic dries up.

Google Plus brings traffic. Right now.

So why aren’t you a part of it? Who cares if it’s still around a month, two months, a year from now?

Another cool thing about Google Plus: it’s so uncrowded right now that it’s much easier to get noticed by all the right people in the blogging world than it is on any other platform I know of.

Most bloggers are on Google Plus and they are not using social media people to run their accounts for them – just yet.

Which means face time with some of the biggest names in blogging.

Can’t pass this up.

Word of caution: use your senses, would you? Don’t act like it’s a free for all and start harassing everyone – I’ve seen some people do it and it ain’t pretty.

Spam is spam even when it comes with the best intentions.

And to learn more about using Google Plus to generate more traffic, check out my Google Plus tutorial.

Marketing Takeaway

Which social media platform is the best traffic generator?

You tell me.

Follow the traffic trail and find out for yourself what works for YOU, YOUR site, and YOUR niche.

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Ana | Traffic Generation Cafe

Traffic, traffic, traffic... Can't do without it, but don't know how to get it? Ana does, and she freely shares her best advice on how to increase web traffic on her Traffic Generation Cafe blog. And don't forget to pick up Ana's 7 Steps to Complete Search Engine Domination free SEO report while you are at it - stop hoping for more search engine traffic and go get it!

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  1. Aloha Ana, awesome post and love the list of comparisons and statistics on social networking sites. Obvious I agree with staying focus on what the outcome and target in generating traffic. Rather than so much on the social sites. Of course, our primary purpose is to spread the word with valuable content to others. Glad I came by and thanks for sharing! Mahalo, Lani 🙂

  2. Great post Ana! As always. Thanks for mentioning SEO Hacker here 🙂
    I never knew Google+ gave you so much traffic since its release! And its not even completely out to everyone as of yet! Great work on honing Google+ to haul in your traffic! I am amazed!

  3. Great insight Ana, as you know I followed this post from G+ but it could have just as easily been Twitter too. Personally, my GA has StumbleUpon at the top of the social referrals but it’s a brand new blog and far too early to get a clear picture.

    I get zero traffic from Facebook because I have yet to setup a page and I rarely promote my sites on my personal account. I have 5 pages for other blogs and, honestly, they weren’t worth the effort. I’m sure it was how I was handling it but even with 1200+ fans I couldn’t engage anyone there. When I could its far easier for everyone to click like and then comment on FB rather than actually checking out the blog post. I’ll need to get a handle on finding targeted fans, if there is such a thing, before I build another failed FB page.

    Your reasoning why it doesn’t matter what the future holds for G+, or the others for that matter, is the best I’ve heard. Very nice.

    1. I am starting to get to know you, Brian – see your comment everywhere I go.

      I’ve never given StumbleUpon much attention in the past; mostly because it’s notorious for bringing very non-targeted traffic. For blogs like mine, poorly targeted traffic equates to no traffic.

      Sounds like it would make sense for you to go strong on G+ for now and see how it works for you. Facebook is not going anywhere and I definitely see less engagement there.

  4. HI Ana,

    At this point of time, I’m still having a difficulty in determining which social media platform is the best traffic generator because it is still too early to decide. However, basing from the statistics you’ve provided, Google+ is doing good and there is a good chance that it may become the best traffic generator sooner or later.

  5. I’ve noticed StumbleUpon generating the most but the bounce rate tends to be higher. Interesting insights.

      1. I would have to agree. I worked on StumbleUpon for a bit and never did find any good results. Then I was sitting on the couch one night next to my wife. She was madly running through StumbleUpon. That is when I knew I wouldn’t work on that traffic source anymore. Haha.

        Thx Ana, another great article.

  6. Ana,

    You write “I was a late bloomer. Just didn’t get it for a long time.” when talking about Twitter. I can definitely relate, as I was a late bloomer to all of the social media sites. I am having the most success with YouTube, which I am kind of surprised that you do not mention at all.

    With some recent successes, hopefully I have learned my lesson to stay up on the latest trends as well as “strike while the iron is hot”, as things are always changing and you need to take advantage of every opportunity. Keep up the great work!

    1. Definitely good point about YouTube, Susan.

      Of course, it’s so different from your typical social media site; it requires an entirely different skill set that many people don’t have.

      Even though you are completely right – it’s still social media, I usually put YT into a separate traffic generation category.

  7. Hi Ana,

    Lots of details, thanks for sharing those. I’d like to ask a question: Do you share different items on your various accounts or do you just cross-post the same information? If it is different, do you make some sort of educated deducement about what to post to each one (as opposed to just mixing it up a bit)?

    Really appreciate insights from such a traffic mogul as yourself . 🙂

    1. From mogul to mogul, Vernessa – thanks for the compliment.

      Twitter gets the most diverse engagement from me; mostly because there’s so much automation available, I share many blogs I enjoy reading on auto-pilot.

      Facebook gets the least – I don’t like to post to it automatically, but don’t have the time to do more.

      G+ is the wild card right now; if I find the time, I’ll share some posts from other blogs I’ve just read, but for the most part, the same problem as with FB – no time.

      1. I can honestly say I don’t get much traffic from Twitter. Social Network wise, Facebook is #1 for this publication. Twitter does “ok” – but with almost 7,000 followers, my posts only generate about 50 or so visitors and that includes a bunch of people, (Like you Ana) retweeting my stuff. Twitter has way too much crap… not sure people are paying attention anymore.

  8. I have to agree with Pace….Twitter is like trying to read Dostoyevsky on a Digiprinter.

    Unless you use some particularly good software you want to tell us about

  9. It’s too embaressing to put my Twitter account here because it has been a moldering for over a year…I still haven’t got it. It looks like stupidity on my part and I am going to try to get with the program once and for all. Thanks for making the point- tomorrow I will update.

  10. Well to find the tips related to social media traffic. apart from it got chance to learn more about seo & ppc . This is one this blog which gaved me such a info. I am thanks full of you.

  11. very nice explanation ana.nice to see you again.i think no use with twitter with out any followers.i am working hard for get more followers.nice info ana 🙂

  12. hi again ana , really i’m not use google plus very well 🙂 but now i’m spend some more time on Google plus to increase traffic 🙂

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