Earlier this year, the Huffington Post announced the launch of Huffington Post Social News, a service which aggregates Huffington Post content that Facebook users comment on and share. In an interview with PaidContent‘s Staci Kramer, the company provided details about traffic and engagement since the launch of Facebook Connect. The results were nothing short of spectacular.
Facebook referral traffic is up 48 percent since the launch – and the already-heavy volume of comments jumped to 2.2 million from 1.7 million in July. Fifteen percent of HuffPo comments now come from Facebook. In September, Facebook referrals accounted for 3.5 million visits, up 190 percent from June and 500 percent from January. Those numbers continue to build, according to HuffPo’s internal stats.
The Social News area of Huffington Post is one of the most robust implementations of Facebook Connect within a news site and it has apparently paid off. As Facebook becomes a greater source of traffic for media sites, implementing Facebook Connect becomes increasingly important. There are an increasing number of media companies who have attributed Facebook for growth in their traffic.
While much of that growth is uncontrollable, making it easier for site visitors to share information within Facebook is a great way to boost the number of referrals. In contrast to Google traffic, which can be gamed to a certain extent, Facebook traffic is much more dependent on creating quality content that users like.
Yes, quality content will also help your Google rankings, but when the majority of users are sharing your content and not linking to it from their website, it becomes clear which source of traffic will become increasingly important (hint: Facebook).