How Long Referral Traffic Spends On Your Site

I’m always interested in optimizing where people find my site (SEO, Social Media, etc.), why they are searching for it, and how long they stay.  Getting readers to stay on your site is the first step to getting them to convert to whatever you are trying to achieve – sales, email list, products, etc.

I was browsing through Google Analytics the other day, and I thought it was interesting how different social media platforms translated into different amount of times readers stay on site.

While not scientific in the least, these are the findings from my sites (I checked them all, the they were all correlated), and I thought they would interest you.


Average Time on Site – Ranked Longest to Shortest

  1. Facebook
  2. Twitter
  3. Reddit
  4. LinkedIn
  5. StumbleUpon
Here are the averages across all my sites:
  • Facebook: 2 minutes and 32 seconds
  • Twitter: 1 minute and 37 seconds
  • Reddit:  25 seconds
  • LinkedIn: 22 seconds
  • StumbleUpon: 18 seconds

Engagement Factor

I think the results above really speak to engagement of your audience.  It has been documented several times that Facebook Fans are your most valuable readers.  By the time spent on my sites, I would agree.  However, it also has to do with the amount of engagement those readers have with your site.  Reddit and StumbleUpon, for example, are random visitors coming to your site because of a catchy title – not because of your brand, reputation, or even your other content.

Whereas, both Facebook Fans and Twitter Followers have made the decision to follow you because of what you offer.  They also may interact with you on both platforms.


Fast Traffic is not a Bad Thing

While the engagement factor is clearly not there for some of the social networks, it is important to remember that not all “fast traffic” is bad.  In fact, it is this traffic that usually generates the most revenue via Pay-Per-Click advertising.  So, next time you don’t think it is valuable to Stumble, Digg, or Reddit your article, keep that in mind.


Readers, what are your thoughts on social media traffic?  Have you seen any different results on your sites?  Any tricks to converting this traffic to followers or fans? 

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  1. I’m surprised at the StumbleUpon numbers. You would think that StumbleUpon readers come to your website because they have listed your website topic as something they like to read ab out.

    • True, but they can just as easily stumble to the next site as well.

      • The numbers shown here are typical numbers for someone who is not very active on StumbleUpon. If you use StumbleUpon correctly the numbers will change significantly. E.g. on my main blog Stumblers spend about 2min and 30 secs and if they come from (StumbleUpon’s URL shortener) than they spend on average 3 min and 55 secs on my site. So you can see that it all depends on how you use the platform.

  2. Interesting stuff – but it does align with the stereotypes I have in my head, haha. Do you find that the Facebook and Twitter traffic returns more than the other types?

  3. I have yet to set up a Facebook page for my blog, but maybe that is something that I should do for 2012 given the results of your numbers here.

  4. This is actually pretty interesting. It does make sense, as your readers from Facebook or Twitter are more targeted – as they’ve already opted in, so to speak. However, I haven’t broken out engagement in that particular way yet.

    What you’re doing here is getting me to more strongly consider a Facebook page for my blog. I’ve resisted for now, being active in Twitter instead. Maybe it really is time to get to Facebook too. I’m just looking to make sure I’m not too spread thin timewise…but these stats are interesting.

    • I think most social media users fall into either Facebook or Twitter. I use Facebook a lot, and reach a lot of blogs that way. But I also use Twitter as well.

  5. Very interesting. I wouldn’t have expected these results. I guess I need to focus more on Facebook in 2012.

  6. That is about what I expected. It looks like Facebook and Twitter are the best places to promote.

  7. Nice stats, I am surprised with Facebook traffic and wondering if you could share how much % it accounts for?

    • Facebook only accounts for about 2% of my site’s traffic – but that is kind of misleading. First, over the last few months I’ve had several articles hit on Reddit or StumbleUpon, and each have resulted in 1,000s of visitors, so it has skewed by referral traffic (I’m not complaining). Second, if you look at site’s like Smart Passive Income, it plays a huge part in traffic – but it is all based on how engaged your audience is.

  8. I haven’t analyzed my traffic in this way but probably should. What you’re saying about Facebook totally makes sense though.

  9. I never would have guessed facebook was that high. I’m glad it works well for you. Several bloggers I know have much better results from Twitter and barely any from FB. I guess it all depends on how much time you put into each platform though. I need to pay more attention to my stats, I don’t do it often enough. -Sydney

  10. I think this is proof that I need to spend more time investing in facebook. :) I have sites created, but I don’t spend too much time on it. Then again, I could spend a lot more time on a lot of things. :)

  11. I try to check out my analytics periodically and see where the visitors are coming from. Actually, I am really trying to grow my traffic. All this drilling down is really important AND time consuming!!!

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