Since late 2010 I have been monitoring how effective Social Media is at driving traffic to UK charity web sites. The answer continues to be that SM is not a significant traffic source and it`s contribution to total web site Visits has remained constant at the 2/4% level.
This table shows the share of total Visits coming from via Social Media, `SM%Total`, for 13 different UK charity web sites for the first 3 months of 2014.
When I originally looked at this in Sept 2010 and again in December 2011 I created an Advanced Segment in Google Analytics which counted web site traffic from around 34 SM media sources. This time around I used the menu option built-in to GA, Acquisition >Social for the 13 separate sites. Note that not all SM Visits will be recorded as Social in GA. For example some Visits that come via Bit.ly and Twitter will end up as `Direct`. Remember that Direct is any Visitor that GA cannot assign to any other Channel or Source. However as these kind of errors are common to all sites and (hopefully) consistent over time the figures shown for these sites (and for your site) are comparable.
From the table the simple average for the 16 Web Sites is 2.84% . Within the 16 sites there is a wide range from 20% for Site 4 to to 0.2% for Site 2. For comparison I have shown the % of Visits that came via Email. Interestingly Site 4 that has the largest % of Social Media Traffic and also, at 7.3% , has the highest % of traffic coming from Email. You can also see that by a wide margin the top 2 SM sources are Twitter and Facebook ` Top2SM`. `%Total SM` shows the % of that sites total SM traffic that comes from that source – either FB or Twitter. The only other SM source that gets a mention is YouTube.
The results suggest two thoughts:
1. I had expected that over time SM would become a big driver of traffic. While SM does perform well for short term issues such as Fundraising events and some specific Campaigns, organic Search remains by far the biggest driver of traffic to charity web sites. The quality of the traffic coming from Search is generally better too.
2. Increasing the volume of quality web site visitors is critical to longer term success ( read >donations) and indeed is probably a KPI for your organisation. A well executed SM campaign can add real value by driving new traffic to specific Content. However it will take time to make a significant difference to overall Visitor numbers.
How does your site compare ?