Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Facebook Isn't the New Google, But It's a Very Big Deal For Media Sites

Big priority for any media property on the Web right now: Trying to figure out how to take advantage of the traffic Facebook is sending to their site, and trying to figure out how they can get more.

As we’ve noted before, Facebook hasn’t replaced Google as the key traffic driver for most Web sites. But it sure is getting more important. Today’s lesson comes via the newest study from Pew’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, which provides these helpful charts.

Here’s the traffic Google sends to some top news sites:

And here’s what Facebook looks like:

Important to acknowledge that the x-axis is completely different on the two graphs, so they end up telling two different stories.

That is: Facebook is a big deal for the Huffington Post, and contributes around 8 percent of inbound traffic. But that’s nothing compared to the 50 percent-plus Google sends to Examiner.com. Etc.

Still, there are a lot of sites that would like 8 percent of Huffington Post’s traffic. And I would be surprised if other sites see more than 8 percent on their internal logs.

Also of note: Twitter is a loud but relatively small traffic driver, Pew says: “Twitter appears at this point to play a relatively small role in sharing of links to news sources. Of the top 21 sites for which there were data, Twitter showed up as referring links to just nine. And for all but one of those nine, Twitter sent only about 1% of total traffic.”


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work