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Outbrain Study Reports: Search Sends More Traffic to Content Sites than Social Media

According to the Content Discovery and Engagement Report, Q1 2011 from Outbrain, Search is the number one source of external traffic for content sites, handily beating social media by more than 300%. In looking at traffic from 100 million sessions in the first quarter of this year, Outbrain found that search drove 41% of external traffic, with other content sites (31%), portals (17%) and social media (11%) coming behind.

Key Findings

  • While search still reigns supreme in terms of directing traffic to content pages (41% of external referrers), social is gaining share at 11%.
  • Of the six content verticals examined, stories in the news, entertainment and lifestyle categories are the most likely to receive traffic from social sources.
  • Traffic coming from social media sources has the highest tendency to bounce.
  • Readers who go from one content site to another (i.e. USA Today to The Daily Beast) are most likely to be engaged in what they’re reading, presumably because they are already in content consumption mode.
  • Facebook delivers a more diverse audience than Twitter.

Top Traffic Sources: According to data, the following sources were the top referrers of traffic during Q1, by number of sessions:

Google was the primary source of referral traffic to sites in Outbrain’s network, directing almost nine times more traffic than the average site referrer. AOL’s homepage/portal surpassed Yahoo and Facebook to the the number two spot.

Content sites have the lowest bounce rates, presumably because they are targeting an audience that is already engaged and in content consumption mode. Traffic coming from social media sources, on the other hand, has the highest tendency to bounce.

Here’s the comple study embedded below:

[Source: Outbrain]

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