Twitter traffic better than Google traffic? Not for us

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Twitter referrals vs GoogleI was interested to read Ubervu’s post last week about Traffic Quality – Twitter vs. Google. They shared metrics demonstrating that a web site referral from Twitter was much more valuable to them than a referral from Google.

We’ve found quite the opposite. Twitter does drive a lot of traffic. In the last 30 days, 7% of site traffic to www.thoughtfarmer.com came from Twitter, making it our #3 referrer after Google and direct visits. But compare the quality of visit:

Bounce Rate

Twitter Traffic: 67%
Google Traffic: 49%
Bing: 56%

Twitter visitors leave more quickly.

Time On Site

Twitter Traffic: 01:42
Google Traffic: 03:17
Bing: 00:03:45

Google visitors spend 90 seconds longer on our site than Twitter visitors. Bing visitors, even longer.

Pages Per Visitor

Twitter Traffic: 2.2
Google Traffic: 4.1
Bing: 5.2

A Google visitor views almost twice as many pages on our site as a Twitter visitor. Again, Bing visitors are even better.

Conversion Rate For Goals

Twitter Traffic: 0.49%
Google Traffic: 2.17%
Bing: 2.88%

This is the most important metric of all: what percentage of visitors complete a goal? Our goals include sending us an email or signing up for demo access. Notice that a Google visitor is 4 times more likely than a Twitter visitor to convert; a Bing visitor, almost 6 times more likely.

Clearly, for us here at ThoughtFarmer, traffic from Google is much higher quality than traffic from Twitter. Interestingly, Bing is even better than Google, though in terms of raw numbers, Bing delivers only 3% of the visitors that Google does.

Why were Ubervu’s results so different? Probably because they provide social media consulting, and people looking for social media consulting are more likely to be hanging out on Twitter.

Moral of the story: For most of us, Google search is still king. Don’t ignore Twitter, but beware the hype.

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Join The Discussion

  1. Dragos ILINCA

    Very good point.

    It’s good to see other people sharing some metrics. As I said in our article, I was shocked about the results we have on uberVU as well. I was expecting the results you got, because they make more sense.

    The moral of the story is, in my opinion, not that Google is king. It’s not even to beware the hype. What I personally learned by looking at the metrics is that before coming to a conclusion, you should measure and look at the numbers. In your case, the numbers confirmed your assumptions. In our case, the numbers did the opposite.

    In any case, we probably both know more about our users now than before looking at the numbers and just going by popular belief.

  2. Chris

    Thanks for your comment Dragos! I still maintain that Google is going to be a better lead source for most companies. However, your moral is good too: Look at your metrics.

  3. EphraimJF

    In reviewing this post I asked myself “well, why do I click on links in ThoughtFarmer tweets?”

    This led to the questions: Why are other people clicking on TF tweets? and who are these people?

    My first assumption is that 1) people who are following TF already know it or 2) people who read TF tweets and follow the links aren’t really sure of what TF does prior to clicking on the link.

    #1 explains me. I follow TF on Twitter and when I see a blog post teaser that I think might be valuable in building up my intranet/technology/strategy knowledge base, I click the link, scan the page and read the whole thing if my scan suggests high knowledge building value. I don’t click around the site because I’m very familiar with it and I don’t convert because I’m already converted.

    I guess this begs the question, how many of your Twitter visitors are repeat visitors?

  4. Chris

    Ephraim, I should have mentioned that we analyzed New Visitors only. That means people like you weren’t included in the results. We realized that would have skewed things even more in Google’s favour.

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