StumbleUpon passes Facebook in US referral traffic

StumbleUpon has passed Facebook as the number one social media site for driving traffic in the US.

StumbleUpon has passed Facebook as the number one source for sharing interesting news, funny videos, and other links in the US. More specifically, StumbleUpon overtook Facebook last month in US referral traffic, and incomplete data from this month suggests a possible trend.

StumbleUpon made up 47.11 percent of all social traffic in the US as of July 2011, according to StatCounter. Facebook meanwhile fell to second place with 39.32 percent of all US traffic. The remaining 13 percent or so was left to competing websites like Twitter, Reddit, YouTube, Myspace, Digg, and others; none of them had more than 5 percent each.

Two years ago, StumbleUpon was the main driver for social media traffic, but then in December 2009 it lost market share to Facebook and a battle ensued. There was a little blip in March 2010 where StumbleUpon was back on top, but Facebook quickly went back to dominating.

Now, the underdog is back with a vengeance. StumbleUpon may have a much smaller user base (15 million users as of June 2011) compared to Facebook (750 million users as of July 2011), but the service is specifically designed for "stumbling" between websites and sharing new links.

It's important to remember that this is US-only data; Facebook still dominates social traffic when it comes to worldwide usage. The social network made up 61.94 percent of worldwide social media traffic in July 2011. Meanwhile, StumbleUpon was second with 23.76 percent, and YouTube grabbed third place with 6.02 percent. Data shows that StumbleUpon is growing its market share worldwide as well, however, and also at Facebook's expense.

Earlier this year, Facebook started giving users the option to switch on HTTPS and then further improved the feature in April 2011. Around that time, Facebook started losing market share. This has led some to suggest that Facebook's losses can be attributed to StatCounter being unable to track a portion of referrals, but the company has explained this is not so.

"Although Facebook are allowing https, they are also now running referrals through a non-https redirect which allows us to track all the referrals," a StatCounter spokesperson said in a statement. "Essentially instead of a user clicking a link and going from https://facebook to a third party site, the user goes from https://facebook to http://facebook to the third party site. As the user is NOT going directly from a https site to a third party, the referral can be tracked."

Either way, we have to remember that this is third-party data and the only way to really verify its validity would be to get data directly from Facebook and StumbleUpon. That's unlikely to happen.

Now for the most important question: if you plan on sharing this article, are you going to Like it or Stumble it?

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