Report: Facebook referrals up 169 percent over the past year

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While Facebook page admins may be unhappy that the site has decreased organic reach, those eyeballs are going somewhere. A new report by Shareaholic shows that referral traffic from Facebook to websites has increased 169.88 percent over the past year and 47.44 percent in the past month.

The stats ring true as Facebook tries to make the News Feed more “newsy,” showing that publishers are getting better about pushing relevant content out. Shareaholic’s Danny Wong also points to more visually striking like and share buttons as the reason why Facebook is a major referral source among the 200,000+ publishers in the report (who reach more than 250 million unique monthly visitors).

Wong notes that among the publishers in the study, Facebook referred 17.41 percent of the overall traffic in November. The percentage of overall visits from Facebook has grown steadily since July and shows little sign of slowing down:

Shareaholic-facebook-share-of-visits-chart-Dec-2013

In the blog post, Wong points out that Facebook’s efforts to make the News Feed a more engaging place, with content that users want to click and read, have largely worked — especially with the most recent algorithm tweak placing more emphasis on news stories and other factual posts, and less on junk news and memes.

Another major factor? Publishers are simply getting better at writing click-worthy headlines and presenting their Facebook posts better.

Wong told Inside Facebook that the site’s change in link presentation format (making it more visual) has also helped, as readers generally are more receptive to content when it is accompanied by a big, bold image:

I’ve been experimenting with how I can continue to engage my community and my friends on Facebook so they don’t get bored. … Images, or posts with images tagged on, are receiving more engagement. I, myself, have noticed both on my Twitter feed as well as my Facebook feed, engage more with other peoples’ posts that have visual elements. I think that is one update that has certainly been good for referrals, as well as the algorithm.

Readers: Have you seen your website referral traffic from Facebook growing?

Top image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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