Facebook Website Referrals Decline 8% In 2017: Study

According to Shareaholic's latest Traffic Report, Facebook's unpredictable shifts in feed algorithms over the past several months have had a decidedly negative impact on how traffic flows through the social media site and service. Specifically, that refers to the number of external site visits arrived from Facebook but other figures from the company are down as well. In fact, the overall traffic on the site has decreased by around five-percent. That number may not seem like much but that equates to around 833,333 fewer hours (96.45 years) spent on the social network per day and users are spending a lot more time watching videos that don't necessarily push traffic to external sites - which compounds the outbound traffic referrals problem further. Meanwhile, search engines are generating a substantially higher number of visitor referrals and other social networks more directly focused on video and photo shares are generating more traffic.

Looking more closely at the numbers involved in the Shareaholic Traffic Report, Facebook's lost share in terms of external site referrals by around 12.7-percent between the first half of 2017 and the second half. Those losses appear to be going directly to competitors in social media, as well as search. Pinterest, for example, is built predominantly around sharing "pins" that link out to external sites. So it understandably gained around a 1.5-percent increase in year-over-year referrals. Instagram has seen continuous growth over that same time period, resulting in a year-over-year increase in its share of traffic referrals of approximately ten times the previous year's growth. Both companies' growth has also reportedly been accelerating, rather than leveling off. LinkedIn, YouTube, and Flipboard saw growth over that period as well, although other social sites saw decreases across the board.

Conversely, the top five search engine providers all saw growth, outpacing social media in 2017 with the shift resulting in 34.8-percent of site traffic driven by sites such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo, and AOL. By comparison, all of the social media sites combined managed to deliver only 25.6-percent of external site referrals. That's a fairly massive shift from the commanding lead sites like Facebook held for several years. Google takes responsibility for the lion's share of that increase, likely due to improvements with its innovative, A.I. search-based Google Assistant and associated products, as well as the continued proliferation of its Android mobile platform and proprietary search tools. The company managed to post a 5.98-percent increase year-over-year.

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About the Author
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Daniel Golightly

Senior Staff Writer
Daniel has been writing for AndroidHeadlines since 2016. As a Senior Staff Writer for the site, Daniel specializes in reviewing a diverse range of technology products and covering topics related to Chrome OS and Chromebooks. Daniel holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Software Engineering and has a background in Writing and Graphics Design that drives his passion for Android, Google products, the science behind the technology, and the direction it's heading. Contact him at [email protected]
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