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How much traffic Twitter drives to UK newspaper sites

March 26, 2010 5 Comments

Adam Sherk found that Twitter drives less than 1% of traffic to the US newspaper and magazine sites he asked (but noted that this still makes it "a top 25 referrer for all the sites and top 10 referrers for most").

Twitter as a referrer

Twitter as a referrer

Figures for the UK

Trying my luck somewhat, I asked the three largest UK newspaper sites (Telegraph, Daily Mail and Guardian) what their figures were.

  • For the Mail, under 0.5% of their referrer traffic is from Twitter.
  • For the Telegraph, 0.5% of global traffic and 0.25% of UK traffic currently comes from Twitter.
  • For the Guardian, 0.4% of their page impressions in February came from Twitter.

Interpreting these figures

These figures are slightly lower than in the US (but that is where Twitter began) but will have grown strongly over the last 12 months from data I've seen for another newspaper site. I'm sure, as with the US, this puts Twitter in or near the top 10 referrers.

How many people

To put these into perspective, these newspaper sites get around 2 million unique users a day, so 0.5% is 10,000 visitors a day. While not to be sneezed at, it shows that search, news aggregators and direct traffic (RSS/bookmarks) are still more important than Twitter (whatever those of us on Twitter might think).

Twitter.com vs Twitter clients

But please bear in mind that interpreting Twitter traffic is notoriously hard - you can measure traffic that comes from twitter.com (although not always if it's using a URL shortener that frames the target page). Measuring traffic from other desktop clients (tweetdeck etc) is much harder.

@dirktherabbit pointed out recently that less than 20% of people access Twitter through the web. Danny Sullivan had a good rant that addressed many of the problems with people who release Twitter statistics (with a shorter summary of that here).

Looking at the stats for my own blog (comparing direct traffic (which is how Google Analytics records Twitter client traffic) to twitter.com referrals on days when there is a spike in traffic due to some Twitter-driven lynch mob), between 2 and 4 times as much traffic comes from desktop clients as twitter.com.

Thank yous

Thanks to James Bromley, Julian Sambles and Martin Belam for taking the time and being willing to share this data. If you'd like to follow some of their papers' Twitter feeds, try these links:

Oh, and you could also check out my previous posts on newspapers on twitter.

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5 Comments »

  • Jo Jordan says:

    Are you using the right figures?

    We would need a breakdown of the internet use of the other arrivals and what they mean for current habits and expected future habits.

    We also need to see the % of Twitter referrals as a % of Twitter referrals and how referrals elsewhere compete on "keywords" or some such other comparison.

    We also want to see the links in the other direction. To what extent are newspapers embedded. What are they curating exactly? What is their "role"?

    They have a role in reaching people who are not internet-enabled. They have a role in picking up the phone and ringing old-power. What other role do they play?

    An interesting PhD for someone.

  • Actually, the number of tweets posted from the main Twitter web site is almost 40 percent now! http://borasky-research.net/2010/03/25/so-you-want-to-write-a-twitter-client-good-luck/

    I can't answer the question of what percentage of Twitter *views* come from the web, though.

    Links shortened with "bit.ly" can be tracked, both individually and in the aggregate. For example, my bit.ly link to the above blog post is http://meb.tw/9iRfxU. Add a "+" on the end of it and you get the statistics link:

    http://meb.tw/9iRfxU+

  • [...] How much traffic Twitter drives to UK newspaper sites » malcolm coles # For the Mail, under 0.5% of their referrer traffic is from Twitter. # For the Telegraph, 0.5% of global traffic and 0.25% of UK traffic currently comes from Twitter. # For the Guardian, 0.4% of their page impressions in February came from Twitter. (tags: twitter news article statistics stats trends) [...]

  • Patrina Montey says:

    Twitter is driving so much more traffic than we all realize. Especially through RSS feeds, and all the various mobiles being used now.

  • [...] How much traffic Twitter drives to UK newspaper sites » Malcolm Coles Malcolm Coles took a closer look at Twitter referrals to newspaper sites last year. Today the Pew report showing Twitter doesn't send through as much traffic as say, Facebook, has been HUGE, with a great deal of response and retweeting. (tags: journalism socialmedia news media twitter) [...]

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