Alexa Now Discounts Almost All Social Media Traffic – Is This A Good Thing?

Those who use social media on a daily basis have come to a conclusive observation:

Alexa no longer counts traffic that a site gains from social media sites like Digg and Reddit.

Two Lines of Evidence

  1. For 2-3 weeks, Alexa has not been reflecting digg or reddit spikes. This is widespread. Spikes only occur on those sites whose articles went viral on non-social media sites after the digg or reddit pop.
  2. Sites built exclusively around social media promotion have been dovetailing faster than Roger Clemens integrity.

Now why would Alexa do this? I think the answer is simple. Alexa wants to be a tool used by advertisers. And advertisers know that social media traffic is worth much, much, much, much, much, much, much less than search and repeat visitor traffic.

As someone who is now interacting with advertisers on a daily basis through PerformancingAds, I have a new found appreciation for the concerns of advertisers. Understandably, an advertiser wants traffic that converts. Social media traffic does not convert.

So, in my view, this is another very smart move by Alexa. At the end of the day, their metric has improved by leaps and bounds this year, by introducing weighting techniques to discern between types of traffic.

Kudos for improving a great thing, and making my life that much harder;-)

12 thoughts on “Alexa Now Discounts Almost All Social Media Traffic – Is This A Good Thing?

  1. I didn’t realise that Alexa discounts social traffic! Not that it makes that much difference to me, as that constitutes a fairly small percentage of my traffic anyway.
    There’s obviously a lot of debate about whether Alexa is useful or not, but the bottom line is: as long as advertisers use it as a yardstick, it’s in your interest to try and improve your ranking as much as you possibly can!

  2. I wish someone can tell me how to get thumbnails from my Subdomains to show up ..

    (and yes I’ve submitted, resubmitted, post in their support forum, and searched their FAQ pages)

    Other than that, I’m oblivious to Alexa until they can fix this (percieved) problem that directly affects me.

  3. To me it’s funny to hear people say Alexa doesn’t matter.
    When you go to their site and see their Alexa you can see
    why they think it doesn’t matter.
    I used to think Page rank didn’t matter either
    It all matters;)
    See you at the TOP

  4. I rarely subscribe to sites that I catch off the Digg and Delicious popular lists. I may bookmark items that I want to find later, but rarely subscribe.

    Most of the new sites I discover and engage come from peer recommendations or links shared by people I know on Twitter, or from those who comment on my site. Even on my site, the rare times I have been submitted to Digg or StumbleUpon the traffic spikes, and the conversion rate to subscribers is very dismal.

  5. Nice catch, Ryan. I’m glad Alexa is becoming a more accurate tool for online advertisers.

  6. Don’t forget the power google will have now that they own Feedburner. But re Alexa, this is a bad idea for anyone using it for rapid gains. And on the flipside, who gives a crap about Alexa? Their algo stinks, and it’s completely inaccurate. It should only be used as a relative scale, nothing more.

  7. Sometimes I think that Alexa is somewhat a joke. However, if I’m advertiser than I probably wouldn’t think so. Digg is still good because you can get a whole bunch of subscribers from it which will bring up your traffic when they come to your site every time.

  8. Clearly, Alexa has identified that Social Media is a fad and not worth paying attention to

    I think you are correct that Alexa wants to be the Nielsen ratings system for the Internet. While Alexa apparently no longer really relies on it’s toolbar that no one really uses *anyway*, it is somewhat surprising that they aren’t seeing anything from Social Media. I mean, come on!

    This leads me to thinking about about some kind of way of auditing server logs.

  9. It’s only a waste if your point was dupe advertisers. Otherwise, it’s still a great way to get good content noticed.

  10. It is true that social media traffic is worth less but it isn’t worthless. Also social media traffic is an indication of a site with engaging posts.

    Advertisers interested in branding will for sure be interested in social media traffic – while action ratio might be low – the message and brand will still be passed onto the user.

    While Alexa may discount sites like Digg there are plenty of other sources of low quality traffic anyway – so it is not really telling us the amount of repeat visitors or visitors from the Search Engines.

    If Alexa can discount social media traffic why not have an option of including it too – that was advertisers can see the whole picture – and what about showing percentage SE traffic, and percentage repeat visitors.

    But at the end of the day Alexa is widely inaccurate anyway – what advertisers really need is access to the site owners servers stats so they can see bounce rate, average page views, percent repeat visitors, percent social media traffic and percent Search Engine traffic.

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