Monday, March 31, 2008

Which Social Networking Sites Really Drive Business Traffic?

Harry Hoover at the THINKing blog recently asked his readers this question and posted some of the responses. While clearly not a statistical sampling, LinkedIn and Facebook were mentioned prominently by nearly all respondents. StumbleUpon and were common second choices.

I've written previously about which social networking/tagging/bookmarking sites seemed to work well at driving B2B traffic, but have collected significantly more data since then. Here's the detail behind my response to Harry. This is based on the past 12 months worth of traffic data for this blog and for the WebMarketCentral marketing portal site.

For WebMarketCentral, note first all referring sites combined accounted for just 10.5% of total site traffic in the last year (search drove 78% of visits; the two are related as SMO can help drive SEO results to an extent). Second, the site drew traffic from nearly 400 different referring sites, and the traffic was highly fragmented.

WebMarketCentral - Top SMO Sources of Referral Traffic

StumbleUpon - 15.30%
Wikipedia - 6.79%
Bibsonomy, Mister Wong,, and ma.gnolia—about 1% each.

The WebMarketCentral blog: referring sites had far more impact, drawing 27.4% of all visits, though again this traffic was highly fragmented with more than 400 sites each drawing a very small share individually.

The WebMarketCentral Blog - Top SMO Sources of Referral Traffic

Technorati - 6.05%
StumbleUpon - 2.15%
Searchles - 1.75%
Facebook - 1.07%
Digg, and Zimbio—about 1% each.

The three key takeaways seem to be that SMO can be a valuable source of traffic for both corporate sites and blogs; different social networking sites work best for different purposes; and StumbleUpon is the most valuable single social media network overall for driving B2B web traffic.


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