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Pinterest, Google, & Instagram big winners as Facebook share of visits falls 8% in 2017

Looking back on 2017, we saw a major tide shift in how sites receive their traffic. After years of strong growth by Social Networks, Search finally had a comeback year and overtook Social as the top traffic driver.

In our newest Shareaholic Traffic Report, we’re looking at externally referred traffic from 400+ million users to 250K+ mobile and desktop sites and analyzing the shifting trends. The size of websites in the study varies from less than 1,000 monthly unique visitors to over one million.

As you might expect, Facebook was the major mover in Social traffic in 2017. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a positive move. Their share of visits dropped a massive 12.7% between the second half of 2016 and the second half of 2017.

Pinterest and Instagram were the largest beneficiaries of the decrease in Facebook’s share. Instagram has doubled its user base in the past two years and its growth rate has been accelerating.

Since 2014, Search had paced behind Social in share of visits but retook the lead in 2017, driving 34.8% of site visits in 2017, compared to 25.6% from social. At a high level, it is clear that social media’s tenuous grip on being the top referral category is over.

As traffic patterns change, so should your search and social strategies. Our report should help you cash in on the major trends in 2018.

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