Engagement vs Volume: Questioning Facebook and Twitter Traffic

Engagement vs Volume- Questioning



Engagement vs Volume

Are you trading away quality engagement, in exchange for shear volume of website traffic?

According to study done by Shareaholic, if your primary source of social media referral traffic is Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest than that might be exactly what you’re doing.

What Shareaholic found, in their first “Social Referrals That Matter” report, is that website traffic from YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn, social media platforms which traditionally produce lower referral traffic versus Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest, is significantly more engaged.

Engagement is defined in terms of more time spent on site, more pages per visit and lower bounce rate.

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Here’s the takeaway…

All social media referral traffic does not arrive at your site with the same intentions.

If your revenue model is based on pageviews (usually in the form of advertising), then volume of website traffic should be your primary concern and sites like StumbleUpon, Pinterest and Reddit should play a major role in your content marketing strategy.

However, if you’re ultimately trying to sell a product or service, the shear volume of pageviews your website receives is a metric with little value.

It takes time to build the level of trust necessary for a consumer, visiting your website, to want to become a customer. The more time a visitor is willing to spend on your site and pages they’re willing to consume, lends to a greater possible that visitor will want to buy from you.

We all market our business with finite capacity of time. In order to grow your business online, we have to look beyond vanity metrics and begin to attack the social platforms which actually drive revenue.

What is so special about YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn?

YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn are long-form, media rich platforms, each built with its own developed culture of engagement and relationship building.


YouTube, by its very nature, builds deeper, stronger relationships with audience members. Video as a rich media source, forces the audience to both watch and listen to your content. The use of two senses in content consumption leads to a higher information retention capacity of that content.

According to Digital Sherpa, video increases a viewer’s understanding of your product or service by 74%.

By watching your video on YouTube the viewer feels a deeper connection to you and/or your product or service. When viewers finally decide to click-through to your website there already exists a strong relationship.


I’ve been preaching the gospel of Google+ for a while now. That’s why I created the Google+ Starter Kit and why the vast majority of my social media time is spent on Google+.

There is no social media (in my humble opinion) which mirrors the human relationship as closely as Google+.

This is why, the social media referral traffic generated from Google+ is so engaged with the websites they visit. There is already a relationship with the content creator. The Google+ user isn’t clicking through superficially, but rather because they desire to learn more.

For more details read: How to Google+ Like a Boss.


In the consciousness of it’s users, LinkedIn is the “Professionals” social media network. We don’t find cat gifs or random personal musings circulating the LinkedIn news feed.

LinkedIn users are attracted to the platform for its focused business content and connection driven structure. This has been reinforced with the public launch of the LinkedIn Publishing Platform. LinkedIn users can now put their experience and expertise on display in long-form posts within LinkedIn.

Here is an example post title: How to Publish Your Podcast on LinkedIn

Just like with YouTube and Google+, LinkedIn users who click-through to your website are already bought into you as a expert and professional. There visit to your website is less about gathering a brief piece of information more about diving deep on you and your work.

Questioning Facebook and Twitter Traffic


Nothing against Facebook and Twitter. The great Jon Loomer would tell you that Facebook can be an incredibly powerful source of engaged traffic. This is most likely true. The issue with Facebook is that the reason you are there as a business or brand is NOT the reason that it’s users are there.

This is way I believe in Facebook advertising. Targeting specific individuals based on need and preference with your equally targeted message.

But as a tool for organic social media referral traffic I’m left wanting with Facebook. Organic reach inside Facebook continues to plummet as more content is added to the system and Facebook has to work harder to filter.

And as Jay Baer has said over and over, you’re not just competing against other businesses for your audience’s attention but family and friends and interests… the real reason users log into Facebook in the first place.

Subsequently the click-throughs from Facebook are more superficial, they’d rather still be on Facebook and unless your content is incredibly compelling, they’re going right back to Facebook.


Just like with Facebook, if we look at why Twitter users log in, we can better understand why they are not as engaged. Twitter, is quick and fun. It’s more about news. Most people who find a piece of content on Twitter that’s interested aren’t then looking for a long-form experience on the website they visit after a click-through.

Twitter users want the information, the news story, the image, the video and then their back to discover something new.

Twitter is a discovery platform.

One caveat to the high Twitter bounce rate, could be people getting duped by headlines. They think something is going to be interesting, but what the get isn’t what they expected.

The Rub

There are no absolutes in content marketing. Don’t take this survey from Shareaholic as gospel. There are some legitimate concepts and ideas we can take away, but no rules.

Jon Loomer (Marketing) and Jason Cass (Insurance) crush Facebook.

Gary Vaynerchuk credits Twitter (after YouTube) with much of his ability to create viral awareness of his brand.

You must find the platform(s) that work for you and your brand.

Thank you and good luck,

I am Ryan Hanley

Your Turn

What social media platform creates the most engaged social media referral traffic for your website? Where do you stand on engagement vs volume of social media traffic?