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social media researchDo you want to know why it’s important to maintain a Facebook presence?

Have you seen the latest research on Facebook?

Knowing how Facebook affects online marketing can improve your own efforts.

These five studies reveal how Facebook impacts online marketing and why it’s here to stay.

facebook research findings

Find key insights from five new Facebook studies.

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#1: Facebook Drives Four Times More Traffic Than Competitors

According to October 2014’s Shareaholic Social Media Traffic Report, website analytics reveal that social referrals come from Facebook four times more frequently than its nearest competitor, Pinterest.

Take a look:

shareaholic study data

Despite the quarter’s 4.41% drop, Facebook still drives 22.36% of referrals straight to websites. Its closest competitor, Pinterest, made up just 5.52% of social media referrals.

Shareaholic tracked the eight most popular social media networks. The chart below puts Facebook’s dominance into relief in one glance.

Pinterest, Twitter, Tumblr, StumbleUpon, Reddit and YouTube all sent FEWER visitors to websites in Q3 than they did in Q2. In fact, proving its current influence, Facebook’s share of sending traffic to websites increased by 115% in just over a year.

shareaholic study data

As of Q3 2014, Facebook is the biggest referrer of traffic to websites by a factor of five or more.

In fact, the difference between Facebook and its competitors is so dramatic that the study’s authors term LinkedIn, Tumblr, StumbleUpon, Reddit and YouTube “forgettable” sources of traffic because they drive less than 1% of traffic to websites COMBINED. So much for those saying that Facebook is sunk without a teen audience.

Getting prospects to a website is one of the primary duties of social media. Boosting lead generation using social media enables companies to capture email addresses with “form-gated” content such as reports, ebooks and how-to guides that live on the website.

Key Takeaway

Facebook’s efforts to remain ubiquitous have paid off with fully measurable website traffic metrics that impress a company’s bean counters, owners and marketing managers.

#2: Facebook Poised to Surpass YouTube in Direct Video Uploads

In a survey of 180,000 videos across 20,000 Facebook pages, social media software and analytics company Socialbakers found that content creators uploaded 50% more videos to Facebook directly in June 2014 than they did in January.

The trend is positive enough for the study authors to predict that the number of videos uploaded directly to Facebook will surpass those uploaded directly to YouTube by the end of this year. Considering that YouTube exists as a video-sharing platform, those numbers have taken many by surprise.

socialbakers study data

A 50% increase in direct video uploads to Facebook reflects the fact that marketers are getting more engagement on Facebook than on YouTube.

The chart above shows that in January, direct video uploads to YouTube outnumbered those to Facebook by nearly 200%. Just six months later, however, Facebook had closed that gap to less than 15%, an amazingly rapid advance.

Why are content creators (business owners, marketers, non-profits and more) abandoning YouTube for Facebook? Facebook consistently outperforms YouTube in getting views and engagement.

If more individuals respond on Facebook, others at the top of the funnel will be more likely to engage as well. Social proof—whether it’s a line out the door at a bakery or likes, comments and shares on a platform—drives sales. Moreover, engagement serves as a key metric, demonstrating to stakeholders that social content is reaching and influencing the target audience.

Facebook executives haven’t missed this rapid shift. Clearly thrilled with the increase in direct video uploads over the first six months of 2014 (see their announcement here), they decided to fuel this trend by personalizing each news feed based on video-watching preferences.

facebook video news feed announcement excerpt

Facebook announced it would be personalizing video views in the news feed.

Those who watch videos regularly will see more at the top of their news feed. Those who skip the videos won’t see as many because Facebook will move them down to the bottom of the feed.

Key Takeaways

If you’re going to upload a video to Facebook, research which of your previous videos and those of your competitors get the most views and likes. Facebook is watching your video’s performance.

Consider including fun and entertaining components that have proven appeal to Facebook audiences.

#3: Facebook Most Popular Social Site on Mobile

Predicted for a long time, consumption of content on mobile has edged out that on desktops for overall time online, according to a study conducted by comScore conducted in May 2014. Smartphones and tablets combined now account for 60% of all time spent online.

comscore study data

Increasing in strength steadily in the past year, the mobile tsunami has yet to crest.

In keeping with these findings, consumers access their social media channels 71% of the time through mobile. Twenty-four percent of total social networking engagement occurs on Facebook, making it the leading mobile social platform.

Rather than remaining satisfied with this current advantage, however, Facebook is devoting its significant resources into keeping and expanding it.

Facebook is aggressively taking steps to maintain its mobile appeal. First, in October 2014, Facebook finalized a deal to acquire the number-one mobile messaging service, WhatsApp.

top 10 mobile app infographic

A total of 450 million active users puts WhatsApp, the newest Facebook instant messaging property, far ahead of its closest competitor, Viber.

In the same month, Facebook updated both its iOS and Android apps with a new collage design that enlarges user photos that have received the most likes.

Taking a page from Snapchat and Instagram, without going the wholly ephemeral route Snapchat takes, Facebook is betting that a stronger emphasis on photos could make those two platforms less appealing. Look for more mobile-focused changes to come from Facebook!

Key Takeaways

The trend toward consumption of content through mobile devices hasn’t left Facebook behind.

Facebook will keep creating more mobile-friendly features to stay competitive with the newest platforms that appear regularly.

#4: Facebook First for Social Logins

According to social registration tools creator Janrain’s Social Logins Trend for Q3 2014, Facebook authenticated almost 50% of all social logins. Considering the other 50% of logins came through five separate social networks (and the category “other,” for a total of six), it’s clear that Facebook is the social login leader by a long shot.

social login trend data

Although Google made a good run at becoming a social login leader in Q1 2014, Facebook deflected the attack and pulled ahead.

The convenience the social login–using consumer enjoys is more than matched by the benefits the website reaps when employing social media logins—making it too convenient for consumers to ever give up.

Consumers logging in with their social media identities are far less likely to abandon the registration process, allowing websites to gather more email addresses and increasing conversion rates. Neil Patel explains how to increase your conversion rate with social logins here.

The study authors at Janrain report that Facebook kept itself in front of consumers by convincing companies like Spotify and Pandora to utilize the Facebook social login. Conditioned on those music sites, consumers defaulted to Facebook social login on other sites as well.

social login trend data

Facebook is by far the leading social login for the entertainment, gaming and music websites.

The study authors at Janrain credit Facebook for maintaining market share by creating partnerships with content creators patronized by the 95 million–strong Millennial audience. They conclude that “Facebook’s value to consumers as a social login provider shows no signs of declining.”

Key Takeaways

Facebook is adept at utilizing strategic partners to keep itself relevant and in front of consumers.

Facebook’s push to be the social login of choice in music, gaming and entertainment industries indicates its dedication to mobile—the platform entertainment consumers utilize most.

#5: Facebook Ads Boost Email Offers

In October 2014, Facebook and partner Salesforce Marketing Cloud published the results of a study examining the effectiveness of email outreach alone versus email outreach combined with exposure to a Facebook ad. This study involved an undisclosed leading U.S. retailer that sent an offer to 565,000 recipients.

Email subscribers who both opened their email AND were exposed to the Facebook ad were 22% more likely to make a purchase.

salesforce study data

One study reveals the Facebook ad as providing a significant boost to the email offer.

Considering that the unnamed retailer also saw reach rise by 77% when utilizing the Facebook ad, the combination of Facebook ad and email outreach proved arguably worthwhile.

Digital marketing companies constantly mix and remix cocktails of marketing tools to create the highest return. As reported in eConsultancy’s Email Marketing Consensus 2014, email marketing delivered the highest ROI yet again for the eighth year in a row when compared to PPC, search, social media, content marketing and mobile marketing.

Key Takeaway

You can bet marketers are going to do what they can, including using a Facebook ad, to spur this consistent workhorse of email marketing even farther.

What do you think? Will these statistics give you more firepower to convince a client or supervisor that Facebook, the 10-year-old “grandpa” of social media, can increase brand awareness, visibility, conversion and even email marketing return on investment well into 2015? Leave your comments or questions in the box below!

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  • Facebook is really very popular social media for everyone. But, I analyzed that Facebook is not relevant to all type businesses. Anybody experienced the same?

  • Per-Erik Olsen

    Some of these facts are really amazing and one feeling I get is that YouTube is getting more and more populated by the younger generations searching for their favorite videos, while Facebook is getting more towards a professional market.
    We see more and more about FB video ads and even new video features from Facebook, so I am still convinced that FB is the no 1 platform for most marketing efforts and companies.

  • Great post. Thanks. The facebook video uptake is real and pretty amazing.

  • Interesting to hear Facebook has surpassed YouTube for video uploads…. Will be interesting to see is this influences SEO at all.

  • Pingback: Facebook to Overtake YouTube: 5 New Research Findings | Viral Social Networking-Viral Social Media()

  • I think people are more inclined to share on Facebook and not YouTube. YouTube they go, watch and then share it on Facebook which allows that visibility to grow exponentially.

  • SuzanneDelzio

    I agree, Per-Erik. Facebook just has the incredible capital (intellectual as well as financial) to offer the most exciting means to connect with the consumer. The laser-focused targeting just can’t be matched anywhere else . . . yet.

  • SuzanneDelzio

    Take a look at your clients’ analytics and keep us posted. We’ll do the same . . .

  • SuzanneDelzio

    Facebook works even for the most boring industries IF you can convince stakeholders to post info that is both helpful and FUN. Often, stakeholders are too nervous to go too far outside the box.

  • Its good to know that Facebook came up with such good figure. But the question if Facebook has brought down the Organic reach and made it more strict , after there were lots of changes in Facebook News Feed Algorithm..My two question 1)is how this Video concept going to help business and marketer to improve their organic promotion? and 2) If I have uploaded a video (already uploaded by somebody earlier ) but mine video got excellent engagement , will it appear on top of News Feed ?

  • We’ve found regardless of the high volume of referral traffic Facebook can send to our e commerce site – it’s ranks last in terms of conversion rate – so it’s become a non sequitur for us

  • Michael Mitchell

    Off Topic – I have been spending money to boost posts for over 2 years on FB but I feel the more they tighten the reigns, the less I want to spend with them. I feel they have betrayed me by controlling the feeds. Why not let consumer “un-like” if my posts are not relevant. Also, I have athlete fan pages that never boost posts and get way more organic views without any trickery. Does FB punish my posts becuase I have spent money boosting in the past? Thanks!

  • I never expected boosting promotion in my company promotion rather encouraged my teams for info-graphic posts and link post and this really helped to double traffic conversion rate last 2 month report. But hope Facebook again don’t come up for tightening this too

  • boosting posts is like playing the lottery – as an example when we a/b split test FB ads we start with at least 256 ads. in one case users clicked on ads with a pink cockatoo 10 times more than with a white cockatoo – literally. You may be boosting the “white” cockatoo ad and never know it. it’s one more rabbit hole to fall through Facebook creates for marketers

  • Yes thats where most of the companies and marketer goes blind and get into the trap. I still say, if you want to rock in Facebook , focus more on understanding your kind of audience you have , interact one-one with them and find out what kind of things they are expecting from you. But yes with fine strategy.

  • Dave Navarro

    The primary problem I see is that Facebook butchers uploaded video. I have been directly uploading samples of my work to my Facebook page and in the past 6 months it looks horrendous on the desktop and on my iPad. They are defaulting video to mobile/web size even when I upload HD. There doesn’t appear to be a way to change the default.

    I’ve stopped directly uploading video and I now just paste links to my YouTube uploads.

  • Its depend on what kind of business into you are whether its b2c or b2b? Thats why I always tell mine clients to first understand before jumping into any social platform. Am I right @SuzanneDelzio:disqus ?

  • did not The shareaholic social media report counts both the paid and free traffic from facebook? did they count the paid traffic from youtube, linkedin, google?

  • Paul

    I see that Facebook is only good for momentary videos because it lives in a persons newsfeed for a certwin amount of time. Where as youtube videos are searchable, can pay the uploader.
    I doubt we will be seei g any productdemos on Facebook anytime soon. If you are just doing an advertisement video then facebook is probably fine. But mostly I fi d that is not what I want from Facebook I want to see my friends lives not a bunch of reposts that Facebook has become.

  • Oremo Ochillo

    I am speaking from experience when I say that I disagree about Facebook driving more traffic. Although you are correct Facebook does drive more clicks what I have found in working with clients is that you usually get a much higher conversion percentage from other social media channels such as Pinterest

  • Thanks for sharing, Steven! For sure, businesses need to “think carefully about the ways they’re spending their money on social efforts”.

  • Thanks for sharing, Oremo. What type of business are you in?

  • Good point, Paul!

  • SuzanneDelzio

    B2C businesses may seem more ideal for Facebook, BUT you never know which FB browser is married to, working with or doing yoga with a key player in your target industry.

  • SuzanneDelzio

    Facebook users aren’t really in the buying mode. They’re in the fun mode. Careful SEO brings in those much farther down in the sales funnel. Still, the Facebook presence is critical for credibility. See my next post.

  • SuzanneDelzio

    On Facebook, they want fun or shocking memes and articles to share with their community. While this won’t lead directly to sales, it will make your brand more “sticky” with them, creating goodwill. That’s worthwhile long-term.

  • Great point Paul – I think people should upload both the Facebook and YouTube – Facebook for the immediate views and YouTube for search.

  • Gloria Rand

    Not to mention, you can share your YouTube videos on Twitter and Pinterest to extend their reach.

  • Oremo Ochillo

    I do the business analysis work for web development and online marketing projects. So I have had the opportunity to work with clients doing social media as well as ppc and display advertising.

  • This post is good news to Facebook. For sure Facebook drives traffic. But I think that you must analyse if that traffic is relevant to your industry. However, you won’t engage with the audience thus you won’t convert. Facebook is tricky when it comes to marketing. I’m not comfortable using it anymore, you must pay way more that what you used to in order to reach your audience. It’s important to have a facebook page, for credibility and for not having it taken by your competitors. But keep in my that people tend to log on facebook for fun.
    What do you think?

  • It is true that Facebook generates lot more traffic than Google+, Twitter, Pinterest etc. But still I am not convinced that it can overtake YouTube. Facebook may still give stiff challenge to YouTube, but surpassing them soon would be very difficult for them. Facebook ads may not be appropriate for targeting all kinds of customers. Recently, I did a project on viral videos which targeted facebook audience and it was understandable, but what if someone is advertising solar panels, will this strategy work. SuzanneDelzio wrote that it is helpful for B2C, but not always.

  • Hi Suzanne…i run a graphic design studio and i wanted to know how fb can help me get to customers and clients. I just dont want to have another fb page but my ad should go to companies and clients not friends…Please advise

  • Each individual business will find different social media platforms work better for them than others. It largely depends on your target audience and what you wish to achieve from your online marketing.

  • Plus of course the videos on Facebook are set to automatically play. So if video views are being counted they are going to be higher that YouTube. Just saying..

  • I don’t believe this as there is no evidence of this in my traffic analytics. In fact without paying for “promoting” the videos I get very few views of maybe 10 to 15. With Google + it’s a much different result

  • I don’t believe this as there is no evidence of this in my traffic analytics. In fact without paying for “promoting” the videos I get very few views of maybe 10 to 15. With Google + it’s a much different result

  • Stephan Rohde

    Sounds good for FB. Almost to good … wait a minute, as far as I can see it is a bit unfair to compare the traffic referrals in total. FB is much bigger than the other social channels – no matter what kind of metrics you take. I.e. FB has 20 times more monthly active users than Pinterest — whereas the aggregated traffic referral is only five times as big. In other
    words, Pinterest is around four times “more effective”. Same numbers, complete different story.

    No question, you can discuss about what metrics to use, but it would be more helpful to include a traffic referral ratio in combination with users / pages / posts whatsoever.

  • treb072410

    Great post Suzanne.. Thanks for sharing, it was very informative read..

  • Thank you!!!

  • SuzanneDelzio

    I think having a mixture of promoted posts and posts you don’t promote (i.e. there as placeholders for credibility) keeps expenditures in line. Promoted posts should always have a link back to the website. People don’t go to Facebook to buy, so, yes, conversion from FB traffic is lower than it is from Google or Bing. But getting eyeballs to a website has value in itself. Do you agree?

  • SuzanneDelzio

    Facebook is set to surpass YouTube for the number of videos getting uploaded monthly. It doesn’t necessarily mean that people are relying on Facebook as their source for videos. The action is coming from the marketers’ end.

  • SuzanneDelzio

    Facebook is set to surpass YouTube for the number of videos getting uploaded monthly. It doesn’t necessarily mean that people are relying on Facebook as their source for videos. The action is coming from the marketers’ end.

  • nope – you’re diluting your digital marketing efforts – if your site converts at 5% – you drive 1000 visitors to Facebook 100 of which come to your site with a yield of 5 orders (5% conversion)

    you drive 1000 visitor directly to your site yielding 50 orders – why not cut out the middleman?

    further as a digital marketer, my youtube video will get me 1st page ranking on Google (& lots of G+ views) plus drive way more “quality” traffic to my site

    because we have a video sitemap – something Facebook doesn’t offer, our web pages containing embedded video will rank higher in google sending us even more “quality” traffic

    Facebook traffic is crap traffic regardless of the quantity – it’s nothing but gadflies –

  • nope – you’re diluting your digital marketing efforts – if your site converts at 5% – you drive 1000 visitors to Facebook 100 of which come to your site with a yield of 5 orders (5% conversion)

    you drive 1000 visitor directly to your site yielding 50 orders – why not cut out the middleman?

    further as a digital marketer, my youtube video will get me 1st page ranking on Google (& lots of G+ views) plus drive way more “quality” traffic to my site

    because we have a video sitemap – something Facebook doesn’t offer, our web pages containing embedded video will rank higher in google sending us even more “quality” traffic

    Facebook traffic is crap traffic regardless of the quantity – it’s nothing but gadflies –

  • Exactly, thankfully you cleared the confusion by writing “The action is coming from the marketers’ end”. Thanks SuzanneDelzio…

  • SuzanneDelzio

    The Forrester study focuses on the fact that a brand’s organic content now has almost no reach anymore now that Facebook has switched to a pay platform (i.e. boosting). It also mentions Facebook’s announcement that overly promotional content won’t see much distribution. With these two changes, Forrester suggests businesses consider building their own social microsites, like Sony did for PlayStation. Social microsites cost, too, however. Brands have to weigh which is most cost effective for them. Sony and other social microsite creators mentioned in the study have market caps in the billions.

  • Bhatnagar Mudit

    Yes James I thought too the same that Facebook is not so good for every business. Even i Find it that facebook is going boring day by day

  • SuzanneDelzio

    Right. Paying to boost videos and posts is the only way to reach a wider audience now.

  • SuzanneDelzio

    Thanks. 🙂 Stay tuned. Another coming in December!

  • treb072410

    Hi there Suzanne, any new post from you??

  • Agree with you. One should be careful while choosing which social platform is going to be helpful for their business or growth and once done, rest things become easier and yes one should always have patience while thinking to excel in social platform.

  • Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha..that reply was superb !!