Social Media Generates Less Traffic, Study Says

May 1, 2011 6:00 AM PST

NEW YORK — A new study suggests that social media referrals tend to generate less traffic on a site as opposed to direct traffic or traffic from search.

According to a new analysis from Outbrain, a company that provides traffic information to online content owners, two-thirds of traffic to sites still come from either users directly visiting a site or jumping from page to page within that site.

Among the 33 percent that comes from outside sources, 41 percent comes from search and only 11 percent from social media, reported.

The study showed that social media referrals also result in shorter visits than search or direct traffic. Search visits result in a larger average number of page view per session, while social media visits experience the highest bounce rates, where a user visits one page and leaves.

Outbrain suggests that surfers who decide to visit a site on their own, or are searching for specific topics, are more likely to stick around than people who have been urged to visit a site by a friend or colleague.

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