Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Facebook driving more traffic to news websites
Facebook is driving an increasing amount of traffic to news sites, but Google remains the top referring service, according to a study published on Monday. The study by the Pew Research Centre's Project for Excellence in Journalism looked at the behaviour of news consumers online during the first nine months of 2010 using audience statistics from the Nielsen.
The study examined the 25 most popular news websites in the US, looking at how users get to the sites, how long they stay there, how deep they explore a site and where they go when they leave. An average of 40% of the traffic to the top 25 news sites comes from outside referrals, the study found, with Google Search and, to a lesser extent, Google News the single biggest traffic driver.
The Nielsen figures did not break down where the remaining 60% of a news site's traffic comes from but the study said much of it stems from direct visits to the home page of a news site.
"Far from obsolete, home pages are usually the most popular page for most of the top news sites," the study said, and were the most viewed part of the site for 21 of the 25 studied.
Google Search was responsible for driving an average of 30% of traffic to top news sites with the Drudge Report and Yahoo! also ranking as major traffic drivers. But social media — and Facebook in particular — is "rapidly becoming a competing driver of traffic," the study said.
At five of the top 25 sites, Facebook was the second or third most important driver of traffic. "If searching for news was the most important development of the last decade, sharing news may be among the most important of the next," the study's authors said.
The website drawing the most traffic from Facebook links was The Huffington Post with 8% of its visitors landing on the site that way. Twitter, somewhat surprisingly, "barely registers as a referring source," the study found.
Only one website in the top 25 — the Los Angeles Times with 3.53% — derived more than 1% of its total traffic from Twitter. On average, 77% of the traffic to the top 25 news sites came from users who visited just one or two times, the study said, with the percentage varying among sites. More loyal and frequent visitors return more than 10 times per month to a particular site. AFP
Article from DNA