That was one of the key findings in a study issued by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. The study, an in-depth study of detailed audience statistics from the Nielsen Company, examines the top 25 news websites in popularity in the United States, delving deeply into four main areas of audience behavior: how users get to the top news sites; how long they stay during each visit; how deep they go into a site; and where they go when they leave.
Google, of course, remains the dominant source that drives people to the respective news sites – as the search engine supplies about 30 percent of traffic to the top news sites, according to Pew. But Facebook, replete with its ubiquitous “like” button ranked as the second-or third-highest referral source for six of the largest 25 news sites including Huffingtonpost.com, which gets the biggest piece of the Facebook pie at 8% of their visitors coming to their site via Facebook.
And as for Twitter… ?
Well according to the study, the little blue bird “barely registers as a referring source” in terms of sending people to news sites.
That’s a little surprising to me as I surely would have predicted Twitter would be playing a much more prominent role in directing people to the respective news sites.