As second-tier social media sites become more popular with consumers, these sites are finding their place within the social media ecosystem, referring traffic to larger social networks, as well as seeing traffic arrive from Facebook and Twitter.
In November 2011, Compete analyzed referrals of US traffic to Facebook, and found that, in addition to retail sites bolstered by holiday traffic, Meebo and Pinterest were two social sites increasing in influence. Meebo’s US referral traffic to Facebook grew 314.48% in November 2011 compared to the previous month; Pinterest’s referrals rose 57.22%.
Pinterest is a social site to watch, as it is gaining users at a rapid rate. The top sites visited by US internet users after visiting Pinterest included several social networks: Facebook, 13.94% of the time; Blogspot, 8.74% of the time; Tumblr, 1.67% of the time; and Etsy, 1.57% of the time, according to Compete. As a visual-focused social network, it makes sense that Pinterest would refer traffic to other sites with photos and visuals, such as Tumblr and Etsy.
Additionally, larger social sites are referring traffic back to these second-tier sites. This demonstrates that consumers may be experimenting with these newer or second-tier social sites, but they also feel the need to share content from the larger networks and point it back to Pinterest or Tumblr. According to Compete, the share of Tumblr’s traffic referred to the site from Twitter climbed 817.78% from October to November 2011. Similarly, the share of Meebo’s traffic derived from Twitter climbed 262.05%, Pinterest’s increased 48.61% and Instagram’s grew 40.80%.
While referral traffic isn’t a traditional measure of success for a website, looking at social networks in this way demonstrates the connectedness of the social media world. Marketers that want to test how their brand works with a second-tier social site like Pinterest or Meebo should work to connect their social media strategies and accounts to best take advantage of the increased interconnectedness in the social media ecosystem.