Social Media Doesn’t Drive Most Web Traffic

Most website traffic is impacted very little by social media, according to new research released by ForeSee Results. On average, fewer than 1% of website visits originate directly from a social media URL.

This may mean the direct impact of social media is minimal, and that the true value of social media cannot be quantified just by studying the traffic that comes directly from a social media URL.

While only 1% of site visitors come from a social media URL, 18% of site visitors report being influenced by social media to visit a website. These numbers represent benchmark averages; individual companies show a wide range of direct and indirect influence.

Larry Freed, President and CEO of ForeSee Results, was quoted as saying in a press release at the firm’s website: “What this tells us is that traditional clickstream metrics don’t give us a full picture of what value social media efforts are bringing to our business. Companies have long been able to count how many Facebook fans, how many Tweets, and how many people click through ads on social sites, but they haven’t had a way to calculate a tangible return on investment for social media efforts, not to mention other marketing initiatives. Now they can.”

By correlating the visitors who were influenced by social media, and how much they spent, companies can determine the impact of social media marketing efforts on revenue. This offers a more robust approach than traditional social media yardsticks, such as referring URLs or raw counts of tweets and Facebook fans.

“The benchmark gives our clients a way to see whether their visitors are more or less influenced by social media than the average, which can provide a fresh perspective on directing social media investments,” Freed was quoted as saying.

The Social Media Value Benchmark ? which includes nearly 300,000 completed consumer surveys on more than 180 websites across a dozen private and public sector industries, and includes websites for the Department of Defense,, and General Mills, among others ? revealed that people influenced by social media have a higher average order size, higher customer satisfaction, and higher loyalty than people who aren’t influenced by social media.

ForeSee Results is an international online customer satisfaction firm founded in 2001. Using the methodology of the University of Michigan’s American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), ForeSee Results scientifically quantifies the elements driving online customer satisfaction and predicts future behaviors such as purchase, return site visits and referrals.