Could social media be providing more referral traffic to your website than search? According to Buzzfeed’s interesting new insights report released last month, it is! The report displays Shareaholic data that notes social media’s gains in share of referral traffic against search’s numbers both in June and September of this year.


Below is a chart from Sharaholic that shows social passed search for the first time in June (30.93% to 29.40%) and in September (29.35% to 29.14%). While only slightly ahead, the chart clearly paints a trend that social is driving more and more visits to websites across the web.

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The big shift is due to one serious driving force – millennials. eMarketer notes that millennials rely on social sites for both news and entertainment content. They’re more likely than any other generation to seek and share both types of content on their social news feeds.

Sharaholic’s Danny Wong notes that the data is “drawn from 360,000 websites that use the Shareaholic platform and 420 million monthly unique visits (MarketingLand).

The finding proves that there are big changes ahead in 2015 and beyond for the web in terms of users’ behaviors, how users discover content, and how they end up on sites. By allocating ad budgets for both social media and search, brands have the opportunity to engage with users while trying out new formats in social content.

Another interesting aspect to note is that while social is evolving to become a great distributor of news and content, many users are accessing social sites through their mobile devices. About 60% of all time spent on social is spent on a mobile device (US Adults/eMarketer). As mobile takes precedent as the preferred platform for social and sharing, brands will have to ensure that their content, including videos, are shareable and formatted for mobile in order to increase the rate of shareability.