Data studies

2018 traffic sources by content categories and topics

Even before Facebook announced changes to their algorithm at the beginning of 2018, we noticed a reversal in duopoly referral traffic trends that made Google Search the primary referrer to our network. Brands and publishers alike took the Facebook algorithm change as a cue to reevaluate dependency on the duopoly. What do audiences of 2018 care about and where do they discover stories to read?

Readers primarily accessed articles through Google Search in the majority of categories studied, including Technology, Business, Sports, and Home & Garden. Facebook remains the primary referral traffic source for “lifestyle” content.

The combined referrals from "other" sources outside Google search and Facebook increased roughly 3% from 2017 to 2018. So while content creators still rely on the duopoly for scale, other major referrers still offer potential for reaching audiences based on their specific interests.

In this Authority Report, you will learn:

  • Benchmarks for referral traffic to 23 categories of content (based on the IAB standard)
  • How Facebook dominates discovery of “lifestyle” articles
  • Which categories have significant traffic from Google AMP and Facebook Instant Articles
  • How referral traffic from Flipboard, Twitter, Pinterest, Google News and Google (other) compares
  • Why the structure of this data is unique compared to our previous reports

Download the Authority Report now to see our findings.

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