Sharing links to content, particularly on Facebook, is now an enormous engine for driving web traffic and has transformed content delivery.
A new study released this week from ShareThis, Starcom MediaVest Group and Rubinson Partners found that 10 percent of all Internet traffic is a result of sharing and that sharing accounts for 31 percent of ALL website referral traffic. In other words, one out of three people visiting a website got there from a link shared with them from a friend, colleague or family member.
Those are staggeringly huge numbers.
Here is where people are getting those shared links:
- Facebook – 38 percent
- Other (blog, bookmarking) – 34 percent
- Email – 17 percent
- Twitter – 11 percent
Clearly, Facebook has a commanding lead compared to other social networks. With more than 700 million people on the network, it isn’t difficult to figure out why. But a telling part of the study noted that Facebook’s 38 percent was for links actually clicked on:
“The raw sharing numbers are higher. Facebook makes up 56 percent of all shared content (up from 45 percent in August, 2010).”
Facebook is dominating the online sharing industry and, as a result, changing the way we experience the web.
Search engines are still the main drivers of referral traffic to websites, but social networks are catching up fast. Social networks like Facebook and Twitter are dramatically transforming the way we consume content. Rather than search for information, the information is now being pushed directly to us by our social networks. Breaking news, interesting news articles, movie recommendations, restaurant reviews, funny videos (you name the content) are now showing up first on our Facebook and Twitter accounts.
There’s no need to search for this information because our friends have already shared it with us. It’s already been published on our News Feed or in our Twitter streams before we even think about searching for it. Social networks are quickly making it unnecessary to use search engines.
In other words, we don’t need Google for finding this information.
People will continue use search engines when looking for specific content, but sharing is replacing web browsing as the way to discover and find content. There’s no need to search for news stories or entertaining content on Google when your social connections are sharing this type of content with you first- and it is being filtered by people you trust rather than by an algorithm.
Will Search Engine Optimization soon be joined by Share Engine Optimization? Will we soon be seeing experts to help make your content more desirable to share?
What do you think? How are you finding information? Is more of the content you are consuming coming from your friends on social networking sites? Do you use traditional search less?
TechCrunch article on new study about sharing