Facebook and Google are rivals for life, and fighting for number one is an ongoing battle with both companies holding nothing back. Even though the jury is still out for the supremacy over referral traffic brought by video content, Facebook has scored an unexpected victory.
According to “The Authority Report,” a new study published by online research company Parse.ly, the social media has surpassed Google as the top referring site for news publishers. Relatively small compared to the entirety of the Internet, online media is still a strong factor that offers Facebook a great deal of power by reaching more than 1.3 billion users.
Because the media follows the money, news publishers are almost guaranteed to invest in using Facebook as an important target for their content. Parse.ly measured that Facebook outranked Google with a mere 4 percent for the sites they measure, but in this industry, every percent counts.
The online research firm based its results on the top 100 news websites ranked by Alexa rankings, Comscore, Newswhip and other social media sources. Referred traffic is the one target all online companies are striving for, because it is tightly linked to successful growth.
That’s why the great majority of large media sites, such as e-commerce sites, are focused on getting referral traffic from social media platforms; beside Facebook and Google, there are dozens of other sites included, such as Twitter, LinkedIn or Pinterest.
It’s still under debate if this kind of traffic is the best there is, because analysts argue about the likelihood that a reader who comes from Facebook will remain on a media site or go back to the original platform. In the same manner, is an occasional visitor more likely to become permanent if they come from another portal?
Another important question that often raises in the conversation over social media referrals is whether or not the users – who are usually younger – are influenced by the opinions of their online friend, or if they have personal opinions about the quality of entertainment and news sites.
How do people on social media evaluate sites like CNN or Amazon.com and their supremacy over other lesser-known platforms? If we are to believe the Parse.ly data, friends have a tremendous impact in determining what counts, as users turn to active search less and less.
Parse.ly is an important portal for thousands of site managers, editors, and writers, helping them gain a better understanding of what pushes the public buttons.
Image Source: Silicon Angle