Adoption of social media widgets grows
The adoption of social media "widgets" grew 80% between 2009 and 2010, according to a new study by Lijit Networks. Lijit defines social media widgets as any regularly occurring functionality on a site powered by an external service - a Like button for Facebook, for instance. The study found that Facebook and Twitter widget adoption on publisher sites nearly doubled in 2010, from 6.96% in 2009 to 11.86% in 2010.
Lijit provides an alternative site-search platform to publishers, powering custom site searches, statistics and advertising within its 15,000-member network. As part of the 2010 Publisher Tools Analysis, Lijit surveyed 735,834 websites -- including its 15,000 members as well as their extended network and linked sites -- to collect data. In 2010, across 735,834 sites surveyed, slightly more than 13.5 million widgets were installed.
Among the more interesting findings is that commenting platforms are increasingly integrating social media. Traffic referrals from social media sites should be a part of every publisher's digital strategy, and this study drives the point home. Facebook got 44% of all traffic from the study's subjects, while 41% -- and this is a bit of a surprise -- came from StumbleUpon. I hereby promise to give StumbleUpon more of my attention for the rest of the year.
The other social media traffic referrers were Digg (6.7%), Twitter (5.7%) and Reddit (2.7%). Further evidence of Digg's decline? Of the sites in the study that used a third-party commenting system, nearly two-thirds use Disqus -- #17 in their Top 50 widget list -- which, not surprisingly, also supports commenting and sharing on both Facebook and Twitter.
While the study itself didn't exactly provide any mind-blowing revelations, it does attach some hard numbers to some already observable trends. Also -- it presents us with some names. Aside from third-party commenting system Disqus, publishers should also be aware of some new players, like LinkWithin (#16 on the Top 50), Wibya (#28) and Tynt (#40), which all cracked the list in 2010. Feedjit, an interesting alert as to when friends and visitors arrive on your site, was an interesting surprise, coming in at #19. You might want to give those sites a look.
Finally, in 2010 Quantcast grew in year-to-year-growth over 2009, by more than 15%. Further, more than 44% of the sites using web analytics for gathering data used Quantcast. And it couldn't have happened to a better audience analytics tool.