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Report: Facebook and Pinterest drive the most referral traffic for content publishers

A new report from social plugin service Shareaholic revealed how much traffic gets referred from each of the popular social media platforms to its network of publishers. Keep in mind, these aren’t figures for all publishers, simply the ones polled by Shareaholic, but the numbers are still revealing.

Not surprisingly, Facebook was far out ahead of everybody else, it made up an average of just over 8% of all referral traffic in the past year. 

However, the big takeaway is the growth of Pinterest. Not only does Pinterest drive a greater share of referrals than Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Google+ combined, it also had the biggest growth in referral traffic out of any other social media platform, with an increase of 66% over last year’s figures. 

That’ll be of concern to Twitter, which finished third in the rankings, making up only 1.17% of referral traffic. 

The other big takeaway is the decline of social news site Reddit and content discovery engine Stumbleupon. Both were previously the go-to sources for generating traffic from links, but their influence has waned, their share of referral traffic decreased 35.16% and 27.47% respectively. 

Tellingly, the report did not have a lot of encouragement for Google+. Shareaholic data analyst Danny Wong wrote “Although Google+ referred a fair number of visits to online publishers last month (0.04% is a substantial number when we’re looking at a data set of hundreds of millions of visits), it is hardly a leading referral source. Google+ is consistently dwarfed by the competing social media sites.”

He added, “Our data suggests it probably shouldn’t be a top priority for digital marketers, but — of course — that can change at any moment. “

Here is a chart illustrating the results from the study: 

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