Chitika looked at referral data for more than 120M impressions across 60,000 sites and concluded that Search remains the undisputed king of traffic referrals - and it's not close:
According to Chitika, search accounts for all but a rounding error of referral traffic. Social (sites like Facebook, StumbleUpon, and Twitter) are growing as a referral segment, but accounted for only 0.55% of referrals in September. Twitter referrals actually fell, leading Chitika to suggest that "Twitter users appear to be becoming link-blind."
Another interesting tidbit is that after a buzzy launch, Bing is starting to slip as a referrer.
So let's digest this. Search represents nearly 98% of all referral traffic and its share is growing. Twitter referrals are tiny and getting tinier. Bing is slipping. StumbleUpon is the top social site referrer.
Does anyone else see a disconnect between the hype and the data?
I've heard reports of early adopter focused sites whose social referral traffic has started to matter. But it certainly doesn't seem to be a mainstream phenomenon.
So the implications of this in no particular order:
- All bow down to the Google God
- Think hard about committing resources to social optimization over search optimization
- Don't let Silicon Valley's love affair with social media fool you: search is showing no signs of getting dethroned any time soon.
- Flat traffic and eroding referral share are troubling signs for Twitter
Thanks to Chitika for exposing this fascinating data.
Note: One possible explanation for why this data might be skewed in favor of search - sites that use Chitika might be more search friendly than social friendly, due to this product.