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Content marketing: Is Twitter the best web traffic source?

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Photo credit: AVTG

When it comes to inbound web traffic from social networks for publishers, and firms engaging in content marketing campaigns, it’s safe to say things have changed dramatically.

Facebook is unarguably an important platform for anyone looking to promote through video, writing, and image-based posts. But the numbers have been looking increasingly bleak for some time, unless you’re willing to pay. Facebook Pages organic reach was 16% by 2012. Two years on this was languishing at roughly 6.5%, and by early 2016 the figure had fallen to 2%.
Two. Per. Cent.
Sticking with twos, we’re now a further two years down the line and the rules have again changed meaning this number could be even lower.
Facebook has been concerned about the decline in personal posts on the network for some time, because the less it knows about our feelings and personality the less the network can glean lucrative data. As such it is rolling out a new approach, allowing 20% less ‘news’ in its standard News Feed to make way for a greater focus on personal updates from users.
We have studied the impact of this over a fortnight, for the results click here. But what’s clear without such an investigation is publishers and content creators are unhappy and concerned about a potential fall in click-throughs to their websites from Facebook, which has long-been a major source of visitors.
The future may not look quite so bleak, though, if this report by BuzzFeed News is much to go by. As per data obtained by the publisher, as Facebook falls off, Twitter could well fill at least some of the gap.

What’s so good about Twitter?

In October last year, SocialFlow reckons Facebook was sending 4.7 visitors to publishers for every one from Twitter. This is now down to just 2.5 to one. That’s pretty much half as many.
As we all know, though, there are dark figures behind every stat. While Facebook is clearly in decline in terms of significance for site referrals this doesn’t necessarily mean Twitter is on the rise. Or does it?
Well, quite possibly yes. As we reported last year, the old 140-character count was extended by Twitter, allowing for a whopping 280-characters per post. The jury has been out for some time on whether this has had much of an impact, but Jim Anderson, CEO of SocialFlow, thinks longer tweets are generating more engagement than the old shorter ones. Basically meaning tweets are becoming more valuable in terms of the potential to send people to your site.

So should you give up on Facebook? 

In a word, no. In two words, definitely not. As of last year, Google had become the top traffic referrer for publishers, showing that there is becoming a greater degree of plurality in terms of the key platforms people are using to find content that interests them.
What this means is those who are using content to promote their business— whether that’s newspaper websites or companies with blog pages— should be broadening their horizons in terms of the networks they are using. More so, they need to tailor posts specifically for each in order to safeguard against the changing tide.
Put simply, it’s about pulling in audiences from more diverse places, rather than cutting back on any single potential source.
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