In a recently released report by Parse.ly there was a lot of movement in terms of which companies are driving traffic to digital news sites. Parse.ly regularly releases their authority report, which aggregates the data and insights gathered by the company through their popular analytics platform. Their network sees more than five billion page views per month made by over 190 million unique visitors. Companies in their network include top Internet properties like The Motley Fool, Reuters, Mashable and others.
Back in October of 2013, Google properties drove 44% of all traffic to news based sites, with Facebook coming in second place at just 16%. With the latest report, however, Google has dropped to 38% and Facebook jumped up to 26%. This is a very significant swing in favor of the social network.
While this report specifically focuses on traffic being sent to news sites, the trend is likely to be spreading to all websites as well. Facebook has been making changes to their News Feed to help improve (in their view) what users are seeing. Many of these changes include a larger focus on showing content from reputable sites, like those listed above. In addition, more people are sharing videos, images and articles to non-news related sites as well.
Facebook has also been pushing their own search function which, while currently focusing primarily on internal Facebook content, will likely display external sites more prominently at some point in the future as well. Whether users will want to use their social media account as a search engine as well is unknown of course, but it is clear that more and more people are getting their news links from the social media giant.
What implications this could have at Google or Facebook will be something we all need to keep an eye on. Google will not be happy about losing such a large percentage of traffic in this area, and may be looking to make some adjustments.