Celebrity Twitter influence and Facebook integration
by Jon Law, on February 19, 2014
Valentine's Day brought a boom in traffic due to a vegan Twitter celebrity retweet, i.e. plant powered ultra-athlete Rich Roll, to be precise. While most welcome it was quite surprising. By using the simple Jetpack stats in Wordpress and Hootsuite I was able to track down the source of the boom - Rich Roll. Now, the current post uses these simple stats once more to see if the traffic was just referred by Twitter.
Actually, a quick look at the referrers across the boom days confirms that Twitter is not the only referrer involved in the traffic boom! Here's how I found out...
Wordpress splits referrals into five 'lumps' - 7 days, 30 days, quarter, year and all time. If we compare the 7 day and 30 day referrals it's easy to seethe huge spike in Twitter traffic on Valentine's Day. But, did Facebook also provide a contribution?
Investigating the boom; both Twitter and Facebook responsible?
Some simple maths will tell us. The three main referrers for the previous 7 days are Search Engines, Twitter and Facebook. Vegan Heath always gets the majority of traffic via Google search, so that's normal. Over the course of 7 days there were 1181 referals or about 169 per day. Over the course of 30 days there was an equivalent number - 5185 or approximately 173 a day. So that tells us that Rich Roll's retweet didn't seem to effect the search engine referrals. And, of course, we wouldn't expect it to.
Using the same simple maths for Twitter and Facebook referrals we get a different story. Over 7 days the average daily referrals is about 46 for Twitter and 9 for Facebook. However, these numbers do not extrapolate to the 30 day period. The 30 day daily average for Twitter is 12 and for Facebook is just 2. As these averages are quite different across the two time periods it suggests that something has happened to skew these averages. Of course, we know that the intervention of Rich Roll caused the traffic boom. It looks like this extends to referrals from Facebook as well as Twitter.
[Tweet "How on earth can a retweet get referrals from Facebook? "]
How can a Twitter retweet affect Facebook?
At first glance it's not obvious. Facebook and Twitter are completely separate platforms. However, there is the facility to share your Tweets directly with your Facebook page or pages and vice versa - see how to link your Facebook updates to your Twitter account. So has Rich Roll done this? A quick look on Facebook will confirm or deny this.
If you look carefully you can see that it's the updates on Facebook are identical to the tweet itself. Furthermore, the timing corresponds (either side of midnight on the 13th of Feb). And the status is on both personal and fan pages. Both pages are popular, the personal page has over 4 thousand friends and followers, while the fan page has more than 21000 fans/likes. More importantly there's a good level of engagement on that page - over 4000 talking about the page, approximately 19%. So it looks likely that these status updates got some action!
So a retweet can get Facebook referrals!
So yes, a good retweet can get you Facebook traffic. The takeaway message is that Social Media shares can have more impact than you might first think. Over the two days when the spike happened the post that got all the traffic recieved 593 page views. This is probably 590 more than you'd expect! With Twitter and Facebook only able to account for 387 there's still 200 or so more pageviews outstanding. Some of these will have come from the Top Posts & Pages widget in the sidebar which prompts visitors to click through to other pages on the site. Some of the visitors will have looked at more than the linked post.
Last word with Google...
Interestingly, Google Analytics cannot seem to track the referrals from Twitter and Facebook as well as wordpress stats. This is quite possibly because Twitter and Facebook are not social data hub partners of Google. Google Analytics broadly agrees on the number of visits on the two days with the traffic boom but only credit Facebook and Twitter with two referrals each! That is inaccurate...
I don't expect exactly the same stats but I was hoping for more from GA in terms of the social networks.