September Social Leaderboard

Well, after flat lining for months, social distribution gains took an ever so slight dip in September. Traffic from social slipped an industrywide average of -0.1 percent from August levels. Even Wetpaint Entertainment, which has been socially strong for several months, saw a hiccup, off by 0.1 percent.

BuzzFeed, MTV and People See Gains

Notably, BuzzFeed, MTV and People defied the no-growth trend. You’ll recall that BuzzFeed made its Leaderboard debut last month with a 15.6 percent showing that put the social news site solidly in second place, right behind Wetpaint. This month Buzzfeed added a percentage point to its social composition, guaranteeing its second, second-place finish. People also ticked up (0.8 percent) in September. MTV bested its August finish by 2.6 percent. This despite (or maybe because of?) news about cancellation of the network’s Jersey Shore series. With that 2.6 percent jump, the biggest among the top 50 web publishers, MTV retained its #3 spot on the Leaderboard for the second month in a row. People finished September in fourth place.

NFL Grows Social by 2M

For the most part, absolute social volumes were relatively stagnant, just as the relative social percentages were. But there were two notable exceptions. Fueled by the kickoff of its 2012 football season, NFL social traffic totals for September spiked nearly 60 percent (5.2M compared to August’s 3.1M). While less dramatic, CBS’s September figure (2.1M) beat its August showing by 0.5M, continuing the network’s four-month-long upward trend in social traffic totals. And Wetpaint inched past MTV, moving up a slot (from #8 to #7) in Leaderboard volume rankings.

Facebook Forwards Less Traffic

Google and Facebook are the two most powerful traffic distributors on the web, as measured by how many clicks they send away from their own websites to those of third-party publishers.  While the traffic Google sends the top 50 publishers has been bouncing up and down, Facebook has had a much more decisive trend:  Facebook is getting stingy.  Corroborating complaints from a number of publishers and app developers that Facebook is putting the squeeze on the ways they use the platform to promote themselves, the analytics show that Facebook has been getting progressively stingy at sending traffic out – forwarding 25% less traffic to publishers now than at the beginning of the year.  And I suspect that this trend will continue as long as the post-IPO Facebook keeps its focus on generating ad revenue for itself rather than supporting those who use its platform.

Details for Social Leaderboard Publishers:

MONTHLY RANKINGS

PUBLISHER

Sep

Aug

Jul

Name of Publisher (Owner) URL

Monthly Uniques

% from Social

Change

1

1

1

Wetpaint Entertainment WETPAINT.COM

                 3,977,235

45.0%

-0.1%

2

N/A

N/A

BuzzFeed BUZZFEED.COM

               11,460,980

16.7%

1.1%

3

2

5

MTV MTV.COM

               12,705,139

14.2%

2.6%

4

3

2

People PEOPLE.COM

               12,183,138

11.1%

0.7%

5

7

6

TMZ TMZ.COM

               14,763,412

8.3%

0.2%

6

6

7

NBC Universal NBC.COM

               11,144,794

7.7%

-0.5%

7

5

3

National Football League NFL.COM

               20,946,974

7.7%

-1.2%

8

4

4

CBS CBS.COM

               10,116,440

6.7%

-3.4%

9

10

8

Yahoo! YAHOO.COM

             148,944,751

6.6%

-0.3%

10

11

11

Patch (Aol) PATCH.COM

               11,939,684

6.6%

-0.1%

11

8

9

E! Entertainment Television EONLINE.COM

                 8,777,802

6.5%

-1.1%

12

12

10

Major League Baseball MLB.COM

               12,646,166

6.2%

-0.4%

13

15

15

IGN (News Corp) IGN.COM

                 8,328,707

5.9%

0.2%

14

14

12

Aol AOL.COM

               43,916,439

5.6%

-0.3%

15

9

13

Entertainment Weekly EW.COM

                 7,099,210

5.4%

-2.1%

16

13

14

TV Guide TVGUIDE.COM

                 7,277,963

5.2%

-1.0%

17

16

17

Discovery Channel DISCOVERY.COM

               11,231,171

5.1%

-0.3%

18

18

16

FOX News (News Corp) FOXNEWS.COM

               27,306,764

5.0%

0.1%

19

19

18

CNN CNN.COM

               47,025,512

4.8%

0.0%

20

21

21

BBC News BBC.CO.UK

               15,048,694

4.7%

0.0%

21

17

23

US Weekly USMAGAZINE.COM

                 6,726,737

4.6%

-0.7%

22

22

19

MSN MSN.COM

               83,386,031

4.3%

-0.2%

23

24

24

The Huffington Post (Aol) HUFFINGTONPOST.COM

               38,558,615

4.3%

0.1%

24

27

31

The Guardian GUARDIAN.CO.UK

                 9,793,140

4.1%

0.6%

25

25

25

New York Times NYTIMES.COM

               25,907,343

4.0%

0.0%

26

20

22

National Geographic Society NATIONALGEOGRAPHIC.COM

                 7,327,298

3.8%

-1.0%

27

33

30

CBS News CBSNEWS.COM

               12,889,430

3.6%

0.6%

28

26

20

FORBES FORBES.COM

               12,963,697

3.6%

-0.3%

29

35

35

New York Daily News NYDAILYNEWS.COM

               12,917,125

3.5%

0.6%

30

30

29

The Washington Post WASHINGTONPOST.COM

               18,680,633

3.5%

0.2%

31

29

27

Break Media BREAK.COM

                 7,355,757

3.4%

-0.1%

32

28

32

IMDB (Amazon.com) IMDB.COM

               36,798,803

3.3%

-0.2%

33

34

34

Los Angeles Times (Tribune) LATIMES.COM

               17,401,824

3.3%

0.3%

34

31

28

Bleacher Report BLEACHERREPORT.COM

               11,055,745

3.2%

0.0%

35

23

26

TIME TIME.COM

                 9,300,538

3.0%

-1.2%

36

32

33

Nickelodeon (MTV Networks) NICK.COM

                 6,163,102

2.8%

-0.3%

37

39

38

Wall Street Journal (News Corp) WSJ.COM

               14,043,325

2.8%

0.5%

38

36

40

USA Today (Gannet) USATODAY.COM

               19,566,407

2.6%

-0.1%

39

37

36

Food Network (Scripps) FOODNETWORK.COM

               14,864,473

2.6%

-0.1%

40

40

39

Reuters REUTERS.COM

                 9,460,283

2.5%

0.3%

41

38

37

Cartoon Network (Turner) CARTOONNETWORK.COM

                 7,580,108

2.5%

-0.1%

42

43

45

Businessweek (Bloomberg) BUSINESSWEEK.COM

                 6,863,317

2.1%

0.3%

43

41

41

FOX Sports (News Corp) FOXSPORTS.COM

               20,585,129

2.0%

0.0%

44

42

44

Bloomberg BLOOMBERG.COM

                 7,436,499

1.8%

0.0%

45

44

43

WebMD WEBMD.COM

               23,174,495

1.7%

-0.1%

46

45

42

CNET (CBS Interactive) CNET.COM

               27,041,796

1.6%

0.0%

47

46

46

everyday Health EVERYDAYHEALTH.COM

                 8,380,422

1.3%

0.1%

48

49

49

ThePostGame (Yahoo) THEPOSTGAME.COM

               10,023,819

1.2%

0.3%

49

47

48

About.com (NY Times) ABOUT.COM

               59,954,508

1.0%

-0.1%

50

48

47

LIVESTRONG (Demand Media) LIVESTRONG.COM

               17,022,178

0.8%

-0.2%

51

50

50

Mayo Clinic MAYOCLINIC.COM

               11,133,141

0.7%

-0.1%

52

51

51

eHow (Demand Media) EHOW.COM

               58,045,470

0.6%

0.0%

 

 

Our Secret Sauce Is Now Less Secret

I’d be remiss if I didn’t post here about some big news for my company Wetpaint.  This month, we announced that we’ve shared our secret sauce for massive audience growth with a key partner:  Hubert Burda Media.  Burda is a global media company with 300+ digital and offline properties, and organizer of the DLD conferences.  But even more importantly, they have impressed me as the most aggressive of the multibillion-dollar media companies when it comes to digitizing their business to its full potential.  And so it is only fitting that they will be the first media company to use the Wetpaint social distribution platform to drive audience growth for their portfolio of brands.

On the inside, Wetpaint has always been a technology platform company.  But for the past two years our more public face has been the celebrity and entertainment news property Wetpaint Entertainment.  We launched this property as a public lab experiment – we wanted to prove to the world that social media, when combined with smart distribution technology, could drive huge audience growth.  Our experiment turned out to be a wild success:  today Wetpaint Entertainment brings in almost as much traffic from Facebook and Twitter as The New York Times and The Washington Post combined.  With social traffic as our cornerstone, we built an audience of more than 12 million unique visitors in two years.

And the secret to our record-setting growth has been a relentless focus on using data to understand our audience.  We learn what works and institutionalize it in a playbook that our software helps us use and improve every day.

Our partnership with Burda Media is a great opportunity for both of our teams:  we get the chance to gain new insights from new audiences, and Burda Media will be able to take their digital audience building and monetization to a whole new level by bringing game-changing social distribution to their outstanding content.

I’m beyond excited to use our secret sauce on new properties and in new countries.  Prost!