Lijit Study Shows Publisher Adoption of Social Media Tools Grows 80%

Mar 2, 2011

Over 15,000 sites on the Internet use Lijit’s advertising services, on-site search tool, and other widgets (analytics widget, recent readers widget, related content widget). Analytics are built into all of our tools but we do not sell the data. Instead, we feed it back to our publishers to help them better understand their audience and monetize their site. We also aggregate the data and use it to optimize CPMs and fill rates for our publishers.

Over the last few weeks we ran a detailed analysis to see what widgets are most often deployed on publisher sites across the Lijit network. We compared 2009 and 2010 data to identify market trends. Outlined below are some of the most interesting takeaways.

Background:

  • 2010: 735,834 sites surveyed, 84.8% with widgets installed (13,541,022 widgets)
  • 2009: 744,848 sites surveyed, 84.7% with widgets installed (13,826,562 widgets)

Key research findings:
The Lijit Top 50
Below is a list of the top 50 widgets and tools implemented on publisher websites. The adoption of social media widgets – including tools used for social networking, micro-blogging, bookmarking, and photo sharing – grew 80% from 2009 to 2010. Widget adoption specifically related to Facebook and Twitter almost doubled, growing from 6.96% to 11.86%.

Additional analysis revealed the following trends:

  • Many content and engagement tools joined the Lijit Top 50 list for the first time in 2010. These tools include Twitter’s image sharing service, LinkWithin, Wibiya, and Tynt.
  • Related content tools to keep readers on-site longer didn’t make the list of Top 10 tools in 2009 but are now being used by 3.68% of sites surveyed.
  • Online advertising services continue to track at a 20% adoption rate; however, new monetization tools used in affiliate marketing programs such as Skimlinks, Infolinks, and Amazon saw a 16% increase in 2010.
  • Audience analytics tools from Quantcast are becoming much more prevalent. Over 44% of the sites that use analytics use Quantcast to gather reader data, representing a 15% year-over-year growth.
  • Website commenting systems now integrate social media components. Disqus, used on almost 75% of the sites that use a 3rd party comment provider, now supports social media commenting and sharing on Facebook and Twitter. In addition, Twitsteps, a Twitter-powered commenting system, now ranks the second most widely used commenting system after growing 356% in 2010.

Referring traffic
Three main categories of referring traffic data were analyzed: 1) search engine traffic; 2) organic traffic (defined by sites linking to each other); and 3) social media traffic. A deeper look at referring traffic from social media sources verifies that both social networking tools like Facebook and Twitter as well as social sharing tools such as StumbleUpon, Digg, and Reddit are being used to drive traffic to publisher websites.

Referring traffic to websitesSocial media traffic to websites

For additional insights into our research analysis, please read our press release, “Lijit Networks Announces Results of 2010 Publisher Tools Analysis.”

Our methodology:
Our definition of “widget” is “any regularly-occurring functionality on a website powered by an external service, voluntarily installed by the site owner, and powered by Flash or Javascript.”

  • “Functionality” includes analytics widgets. These add functionality for the publisher but are invisible to visitors.
  • “Voluntarily” excludes widgets automatically added by the hosting platform. We are only interested in widgets that publishers make an effort to install.
  • Image-based badges, such as FeedBurner subscriber counts, are not counted. HTML forms, such as the original Google search boxes, are also not counted. We may include support for these in the future.
  • Our crawl is “centered” on sites with the Lijit widget (ad tags, site search and other Lijit widgets). Our crawler then expands outwards by following blogrolls and other linked sites. This may skew the overall results since research originates from sites within the Lijit Network.
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