Social vs search vs direct

Whether our focus is shares or not, we want as many people as possible to see our great content.

In the past we’ve seen massive growth in visits from search and social, but there’s one area which hasn’t grown: direct traffic.

This is largely due to people using Facebook as their homepage. However, competitors such as MailOnline still manage to attract a large homepage following. This suggests that it’s a potential source of growth for Metro, and it’s the driver behind our current redesign.

Robust growth

Having more direct traffic would also make us less reliant on Facebook and Google. Three years ago our traffic nose-dived when Google started penalising sites that weren’t mobile-friendly. It caused a mild-panic in our office.

Currently, search is over 40% of referrals, social is around a third (if you include dark social) and direct is the weak link.

(We also get a chunk of traffic from other sites such as arsenal.com).

Beyond robust

Direct traffic will make Metro more robust, but robust isn’t enough. We want to be anti-fragile. We want to actually gain when Facebook and Google change their algorithms.

Firstly, the algorithms are getting smarter. They are getting better at figuring out what people really want to consume. The more we focus on what customers really want, the more we’ll gain from new algorithms.

Secondly, the more adaptable we are, the quicker we can take advantage of new algorithms. Being adaptable requires the “agile” mindset outlined earlier in this series of posts.

Back to the start

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