Sorry, we could not find the combination you entered »
Please enter your email and we will send you an email where you can pick a new password.
Reset password:


Executive Report - By Thomas Baekdal - April 2011

Social Annihilates Page Views, So What?

Measuring page views and bounce rates for existing visitors doesn't make much sense. It is not a goal to get them to click around. The goal is to get them to come back repeatedly.

A report from Outbrain recently looked at traffic sources and the impact of social. Not surprisingly, the average social referral traffic is still very low. But the report also found that social traffic results in a substantially higher bounce rate and lower page views.

That might seem scary. But it's not a goal to get more page views or a low bounce-rate. The goal is to get satisfied customers that keep coming back for more.

Note: Also read "Forget Bounce Rates, focus on Conversions."

Lets take a look at the report from Outbrain.

They measured 100 million sessions across 100 premium publishers that use Outbrain's services. As such, it is biased towards a certain type of site. Mostly big content sites and online newspapers.

Traffic sources

The first real "shocker" is the break down of incoming traffic. Direct traffic rules supreme, followed by traditional channels, and all of them completely dwarf social channels.

The problem with this is two fold. First, you have to embrace social and focus on sharing to get a social result. An example from this site is that the vast majority of all traffic is coming in via social channels and only 1.11% from search.

You have a tremendous impact on your traffic sources. If you are not using social channels the right way, you are not going to see any results from it.

The other problem is that you cannot trust referrer data. As I wrote in "Don't Trust Your Social Referral Data," a lot of your direct traffic might actually be something else. A lot of your social traffic shows up in your stats as direct visitors-drastically skewing the results.


The other and much more interesting point is to look at what people do when they arrive via different channels. Outbrain specifically looked at both page views and bounce rates.

As you can see, social media generally perform badly.

Traditionally, this signifies a less engaged audience. Why didn't they click around more? Why didn't they see more stuff?

Not so fast, though. That is the old way of thinking. It is from the days when websites where destinations. It is the user behavior of a non-connected world.

The world has changed. In order to explain just how big that change is, let's explore a few scenarios.

This 11 page report is exclusive for subscribers. (login)

Subscribe now to get full access to this Baekdal/Executive report

This Baekdal/Executive article can only accessed bysubscribing to Baekdal/Executive (which also gives you full access to our full archieve of executive reports)

What is Baekdal?

Baekdal is a magazine for media professionals, focusing on media analysis, trends, patterns, strategy, journalistic focus, and newsroom optimization. Since 2010, it has helped publishers in more than 40 countries, including big and small publishers like Condé Nast, Bonnier, Schibsted, NRC, and others, as well as companies like Google and Microsoft.

Baekdal comes in three tiers:


Free weekly newsletters for media professionals, focusing on news, trends, and quick insights.


Weekly media insights and analysis for journalists, editors, and business managers, helping you focus and optimize your newsroom and audience engagement.


In-depth media reports for editors-in-chief, executives, and other decision makers, helping you understand the future of media, trends, patterns, monetization, data, and strategies.


The Baekdal/Basic Newsletter is the best way to be notified about the latest media reports, but it also comes with extra insights.

Get the newsletter

Thomas Baekdal

Founder, media analyst, author, and publisher. Follow on Twitter

"Thomas Baekdal is one of Scandinavia's most sought-after experts in the digitization of media companies. He has made ​​himself known for his analysis of how digitization has changed the way we consume media."
Swedish business magazine, Resumé


—   thoughts   —


Why publishers who try to innovate always end up doing the same as always


A guide to using editorial analytics to define your newsroom


What do I mean when I talk about privacy and tracking?


Let's talk about Google's 'cookie-less' future and why it's bad


I'm not impressed by the Guardian's OpenAI GPT-3 article


Should media be tax exempt?