social networks, Twitter

How Twitter Drives Traffic to Social Networks and Blogs

5 Comments 16 March 2009

image by kopp0041

image by kopp0041

How do you drive traffic to your Facebook page, You Tube video, blog or other social network site? New February data released by Hitwise Intelligence, a web measurement company, reveals that Twitter drove one in five visitors from Twitter to social networks. That’s impressive.

However, if you compare that with how the search engines drive traffic to your social network site, the information is even more impressive:

Twitter drives more people directly to social networking sites than the search engines

Concretely, Twitter drives 20% of its visitors from its site to social networks. (This is called “downstream clicks.”)  The search engines drive less than 10% of downstream clicks to social networks. And to which social networks does Twitter drive the most traffic? Facebook, followed by MySpace, Twitter Search and You Tube.

But let’s not forget blogs, either. Twitter drove visitors to blogs and personal websites a little more than 7% of the time, which is not insignificant. Hitwise’s clickstream data shows that Twitter drives a much higher percentage of downstream clicks to blogs/personal websites than either search engines or email services. The chart below compares downstream visits from Twitter, Google, Social Networks and Email Services.

image from Hitwise Intelligence

image from Hitwise Intelligence

What does that mean to you now?

  • If you have a social network profile and activity (on Facebook, My Space, You Tube, Flickr, Twitter, Orkut, Slideshare, etc), you should be on Twitter. The Hitwise analysis shows that Twitter users are more likely to drive traffic to your social network sites than either Google or email services.
  • Search engine optimization is important, but so is Twitter optimization. What is “Twitter optimization”? Making your Twitter profile and usage as interesting and relevant as possible to drive traffic back to you and your business or organization. This means a good Twitter background, a photo, an interesting and catchy bio, a good link to an appropriate landing page of your website, and open settings which allow anyone to follow and contact you.  However, it also means utilizing Twitter strategically to drive traffic back to your networks, website and blog. (And yes, I know, I’m looking for an interesting Twitter background now.)
  • Make sure that your social network profiles and blog also include Twitter contact information. If you have a profile on a lifestreaming site such as Friendfeed or Brightkite, you should have a Twitter tweet stream there. If you have  blog or website, you should display your “follow me” Twitter button on the front page. Don’t forget all the others, too.
  • Twitter users are very prone to look at another Twitterer’s post/profile/picture, so utilize Twitter self-referencing to achieve your goals. A lot of Twitter downstream clicks are to Twitter itself or the Twitter-related picture site, Twitpic.  (Twitpic was the third most popular downstream click, and Twitter Search was the fifth.) Take advantage of this knowledge:  create interest by posting your latest event photos on Twitpic and your blog, encourage your organization’s followers to search for and follow each other, refer to other Twitter users that have great info for your followers.  Don’t forget to tweet your blog posts periodically, too. These strategies will strengthen your brand and public awareness.

When I look at the incoming clicks to my blog, at least half are from Twitter. The Hitwise analysis rings true in my case, and is prompting me to reconsider how I use Twitter.

How has this information changed the way you think about Twitter and traffic? I’d love to hear your thoughts (and tweets)!



Debra Askanase is an experienced digital engagement strategist, non-profit executive, and community organizer. She works with mission-driven organizations to develop digital strategies and campaigns that engage, create trust, and move stakeholders to action. Debra speaks at conferences worldwide on the intersection of technology, social media, and nonprofit organizations.

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