Facebook will be dead in three years and all that will be left are lonely mothers and fathers trying to spy on their children, even though they fled the network months earlier! Okay so maybe the recent Princeton study that calls for the demise of Facebook in just a few short years is wrong. On the brighter, happier side of the coin, at least one study is calling for the rise of Facebook in an eclipse of Google numbers.
Buzzfeed has culled data from its own massive network of properties to determine that Facebook outpaced Google in referrals for all of 2013. The study in its own small way proves that the social network still has decent influence over its more than 1.2 billion users.
The publish company found that Google and Facebook provided roughly the same amount of traffic to Buzzfeed at the start of 2013, while Facebook referrals quickly increased throughout the year to easily take the lead from the world’s largest search engine.
Facebook in 2013 began to place more emphasis on its news and viral content algorithms, which in turn led to more News Feed articles for top-rated content providers. Buzzfeed claims that its referrals grew from roughly 60 million monthly referrals in December of 2012 to 160 million in December of last year. During that same period Google referrals fell to just over 40 million referrals.
It should be noted that while Facebook is partnered with Buzzfeed for data purposes, the companies both claim that traffic is not manipulated. Buzzfeed essentially has access to data that they know will play well on Facebook.
Buzzfeed doesn’t just run Buzzfeed.com, the company controls 200 sites that allow for a decent sample segment.
The numbers do seem to hold some weight. A recent study by analytics firm Parse.ly also found that Facebook was driving big web traffic, only second to Google and well ahead of Twitter and Pinterest.
The real question now is whether or not Facebook users will continue to use the social network as a referral destination for the news and viral stories they want to read. The web is full of fickle social users who can quickly change direction without a moments notice. To combat that shift Facebook Paper will soon launch for more than one billion eager news readers. Should Facebook Paper compete with Flipboard it could open up an entirely new referral channel for the 10-year-old social media behemoth.
And now because this is a news story about Buzzfeed, I leave you with these random GIFs that offer no real purpose for our post: