Facebook Passes Google as No. 1 Referring Site for Online Media

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Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) has moved ahead of Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL) as the top referring site for online media. While this media sector is a relatively small portion of the Web, the research does show Facebook’s power as its membership surges above 1.3 billion. And media sites almost certainly will make more effort to use Facebook as a target for their content. Online media goes where the money does.

Online research company Parse.ly commented in a new piece of research called “The Authority Report” that in the period from May to July:

OF NOTE: Facebook has surpassed Google as a top referring site to the publishers in Parse.ly’s network.

Facebook’s figure hit about 40% for sites measured by Parse.ly. Google’s was about 36%. As to the group of sites used for the measurement:

We calculate News Sites using 100 of the top news websites ranked by Comscore, Alexa rankings, and other social media data sources, like Newswhip.

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Like other online media, referred traffic is the holy grail for successful growth. Large media sites, and many large e-commerce sites, have people dedicated to the task of getting referral traffic from not only Facebook and Google, but dozens of other sites, which include Twitter Inc. (NYSE: TWTR), LinkedIn Corp. (NYSE: LNKD) and Pinterest. The quality of this traffic is an open subject that is often debated. Is a reader who comes from Facebook less likely to stay on a media site or return than a direct visitor from another media site or one of the portals?

The other question about social media referrals is whether the people who use these, who are usually younger, count on the opinions of their online fiends instead of having their own opinions of the quality of news and entertainment sites. Do people who use social media sites rely on their own opinions about using sites like CNN or Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) or are they one or more steps from their own evaluations of these destinations?

The Parse.ly data show the active access to news media has moved away from an active search made with intention to one in which “friends” determine what counts.

Methodology: Thousands of writers, editors, site managers and technologists already use Parse.ly to understand what content draws in website visitors and why. Using powerful dashboards and APIs, customers build successful digital strategies that allow them to grow and engage a loyal audience.

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