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STATS: Facebook a major driver of traffic to news websites

Posted by Danny Whatmough on 23rd January 2012

Research from comScore has revealed a big increase in traffic from Facebook to news websites over the last year.

On the back of innovations such as frictionless sharing the study found that, of the 379.4m Europeans who went online in November 2011, nearly half (47.8%) visited at least one newspaper site, with a considerable number visiting the top 5 newspaper sites preceded by a visit to Facebook.

While there is no way of telling whether these visits were caused by users clicking links shared on Facebook or whether the visit happened by coincidence, it still reveals “both Facebook’s growing prominence in the European Web landscape and its increasing ability to drive referral traffic.”

Guardian showing impressive gains

According to the research, Mail Online topped the Facebook traffic league table with 13.1% of its traffic coming from this source in November 2011, a 4.6% increase on the previous year.

The Guardian was next with 12.8%, but a much greater increase – up 8.2% – followed by other leading European news sites Hurriyet, Bilde and Milliyet.

PR benefit

For those of us working in tech PR, this is interesting for a number of reasons.

Firstly, it shows the importance of an integrated approach. The lines between traditional and social media are blurring with content from news sites increasingly being shared on social channels. Therefore sharing traditional media coverage on social channels is a tactic worth pursuing.

And secondly, it confirms the importance of social media as a content distribution channel.

Google and Russia leading the charge

Elsewhere in the research, Google sites ranked as the top European web property with 347.3 million unique visitors. Google reached 92% of the total European internet audience.

Russian social network VKontakte displayed the highest average engagement levels, with European visitors spending 7.3 hours on average on the site.

And it was also the Russian internet audience that continued to grow and surpass Germany as the largest online market in Europe. The UK continued to show the highest engagement, with users spending an average of 38.2 hours online during November.

Find out more here

Danny Whatmough