Social Media Traffic: no longer the hidden KPI

Social Media can be a great source for competitive analysis. With the explosion of activity across social networks, brands can easily follow what their competitors are doing and assess which strategies and content works for them by looking at the quality and quantity of interactions from fans.

However, for many businesses, a successful social media campaign isn’t only measured by engagement across social networks but also by the amount of incoming traffic resulting from these marketing efforts.

John Cade wrote a great piece about Social Competitive Analysis where he touched upon the limitations of only looking at engagement metrics. In his own words: “Engagement KPIs do not tell the whole story. There are some things that you might not be able to measure, but that may indicate success for your competitors. For instance, the revenue or number of page views their links are generating on their e-commerce sites are private metrics that may tell a much different story than the level of engagement they receive.”

The good news is that thanks to SimilarWeb, these are no longer private metrics. Until now, it was only possible to define and benchmark the success of your competitors’ social activity by looking at the amount of interactions such as comments, likes, shares, re-tweets  re-pins, etc. These are good metrics to get a sense of what content is popular within social networks but fail to show if people ultimately visit your competitor site.

Different brands have different KPIs to measure the success of their social media activity but ultimately, most internet-based businesses will aim to bring as many visitors as they can to their own domains and therefore their success will be greatly determined by the amount of quality traffic coming from social networks.

That’s why we decided to add Social Media traffic insights on SimilarWeb where you can find out:

  1. The share of traffic coming from social networks to your competitor’s website.
  2. The Top 5 social networks sending more traffic.
  3. The percentage of social traffic coming from these social networks.

For example, we can see below how entertainment site Buzzfeed is heavily reliant on social traffic which accounts for over 44% of their website traffic. Not many websites on the internet have such a high percentage of social traffic but Buzzfeed is a great example of how a business can live on social networks and still ensure that the core of the activity takes place in their domain.


Another interesting example is, one of Pinterest biggest success stories. SimilarWeb shows how she’s taking advantage of Pinterest which is by far the biggest driver of social traffic to her site. Although for many websites Facebook will lead the pack, remember that it’s not always the case and this is a good example of how important it is to choose the right social network that fits your business purpose and target audience.


You already new how your competitors used social media, now you can get a step closer to understanding the real impact that it has on their web traffic.




About the Author -

Head of Brand & Strategy for SimilarWeb. Obsessed with web measurement, the internet, pop music and great TV. Wannabe cool-hunter.

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