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Search engines drove more total traffic than social networks to websites in 2017 for the first time in three years, according to recent research from Shareaholic.

The report was based on 2017 Shareaholic data from 400+ million users who visited 250,000+ mobile and desktop sites in a range of verticals, including food, tech, design, fashion/beauty, marketing, sports, parenting, religion, and general news.

Search engines drove 35% of total visits to the sites examined in 2017, and social networks drove 26%.

A major factor in search's overtaking of social as a traffic referrer was a drop in visits driven by Facebook.

Facebook accounted for 31% of visits driven to websites in the first half of 2016, but just 18% in the second half of 2017, the analysis found.

All five search engines examined by Shareaholic drove more traffic to sites in 2017 than they did in 2016.

However, Google was responsible for the lion's share of visits to sites last year; it drove nearly 37% of traffic in 2H17, compared with less than 1% for Bing.

About the research: The report was based on 2017 Shareaholic data from 400+ million users who visited 250,000+ mobile and desktop sites in a range of verticals, including food, tech, design, fashion and beauty, marketing, sports, parenting, religion, and general news.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of Ayaz Nanji

Ayaz Nanji is a digital strategist and a co-founder of ICW Media, a marketing agency specializing in content and social media services for tech firms. He is also a research writer for MarketingProfs. He has worked for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, AOL, and the New York Times.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji