I analyzed 50 successful sites to reveal which social media platforms will get you the most traffic and why

There are only 3 social media platforms that are worth signing up for if you're building a new site: Youtube, Pinterest, and Facebook. In that order. In most cases, everything else is a huge waste of time.

I've analyzed websites which are top-performers, but not huge players. Sites that a regular person with a lot of knowledge and motivation could build. I've chosen 10 diverse niches with 5 websites in each niche.

Websites I analyzed

I tried to not only analyze the volume of traffic they are getting but more importantly, why and how they are doing it. I summarized these findings in my conclusions at the bottom of this page.

Look, this isn't a conclusive study. I only picked 5 sites for each topic, I didn't test multiple samples. I'm not really looking for any correlations here. I just wanted to show you what is typical for a reasonably successful site. You should check out their numbers and further investigate any results that look interesting to you. I specifically picked sites that are getting at least some numbers from social media platforms. In real life, there's a ton of sites that are not bothering with doing social media and they are getting hundreds of thousands or even millions of visits monthly just doing SEO.

I'm using SimilarWeb Enterprise estimates for all my traffic predictions. I harvested the data in August 2019.

Digital marketing

Income School

 

Total monthly visits: 350.44k
Percentage of traffic from social: 15.45%
Top-performing platforms: Youtube

Authority Hacker

Total monthly visits: 453.95k
Percentage of traffic from social: 9.04%
Top-performing platforms: Facebook, Youtube

Niche Hacks

Total monthly visits: 332.19k
Percentage of traffic from social: 5.08%
Top-performing platforms: Facebook

Niche Pursuits

Total monthly visits: 508.37k
Percentage of traffic from social: 3.16%
Top-performing platforms: Facebook

Stopping Scams

Total monthly visits: 73.29k
Percentage of traffic from social: 2.81%
Top-performing platforms: Facebook

Travel

Practical Wonderlust

Total monthly visits: 218.42k
Percentage of traffic from social: 6.64%
Top-performing platforms: Pinterest

The World Pursuit

Total monthly visits: 354.65k
Percentage of traffic from social: 4.04%
Top-performing platforms: Pinterest

Big World Small Pockets

Total monthly visits: 81.55k
Percentage of traffic from social: 5.89%
Top-performing platforms: Pinterest

Along Dusty Roads

Total monthly visits: 279.63k
Percentage of traffic from social: 3.9%
Top-performing platforms: Pinterest

Back-packer

Total monthly visits: 103.98k
Percentage of traffic from social: 10.05%
Top-performing platforms: Youtube

Men's fashion

The Fashinisto

Total monthly visits: 261.33k
Percentage of traffic from social: 13.65%
Top-performing platforms: Pinterest

Fucking Young!

Total monthly visits: 135.38k
Percentage of traffic from social: 23.99%
Top-performing platforms: Pinterest

Fashionably Male

Total monthly visits: 111.06k
Percentage of traffic from social: 9.28%
Top-performing platforms: Facebook

Image Amplified

Total monthly visits: 112.50k
Percentage of traffic from social: 1.98%
Top-performing platforms: Pinterest

I Am Alpha M

Total monthly visits: 304.71k
Percentage of traffic from social: 32.04%
Top-performing platforms: Youtube

Cooking and recipes

Del's Cooking Twist

Total monthly visits: 282.56k
Percentage of traffic from social: 11.47%
Top-performing platforms: Pinterest

Baking Mad

Total monthly visits: 389.75k
Percentage of traffic from social: 4.13%
Top-performing platforms: Pinterest, Youtube

Foxes Love Lemons

Total monthly visits: 131.22k
Percentage of traffic from social: 7.55%
Top-performing platforms: Pinterest

Lil' Luna

Total monthly visits: 1.06m
Percentage of traffic from social: 24.01%
Top-performing platforms: Pinterest

Amy's Healthy Baking

Total monthly visits: 394.90k
Percentage of traffic from social: 6.36%
Top-performing platforms: Pinterest, Facebook

Parenting and babies

My Fussy Eater

Total monthly visits: 318.11k
Percentage of traffic from social: 4.82%
Top-performing platforms: Pinterest

Yummy Toddler Food

Total monthly visits: 291.42k
Percentage of traffic from social: 4.7%
Top-performing platforms: Pinterest

My Kid Lick The Bowl

Total monthly visits: 148k
Percentage of traffic from social: 18.75%
Top-performing platforms: Pinterest

Cool Mom Picks

Total monthly visits: 120.63k
Percentage of traffic from social: 16.31%
Top-performing platforms: Pinterest

Project Nursery

Total monthly visits: 100.36k
Percentage of traffic from social: 35.5%
Top-performing platforms: Pinterest

Weddings

Style Me Pretty

Total monthly visits: 286.76k
Percentage of traffic from social: 46.38%
Top-performing platforms: Pinterest

Green Wedding Shoes

Total monthly visits: 284.53k
Percentage of traffic from social: 27.87%
Top-performing platforms: Pinterest

Wedding Chicks

Total monthly visits: 270.24k
Percentage of traffic from social: 23.08%
Top-performing platforms: Pinterest

Rock My Wedding

Total monthly visits: 102.95k
Percentage of traffic from social: 15.63%
Top-performing platforms: Pinterest

Here Comes The Guide

Total monthly visits: 424.23k
Percentage of traffic from social: 4.1%
Top-performing platforms: Pinterest

Interior design and home improvement

Design Sponge

Total monthly visits: 471.72k
Percentage of traffic from social: 10.91%
Top-performing platforms: Pinterest

Desire To Inspire

Total monthly visits: 111.48k
Percentage of traffic from social: 11.72%
Top-performing platforms: Pinterest, Facebook

SF Girl

Total monthly visits: 121.50k
Percentage of traffic from social: 39.04%
Top-performing platforms: Pinterest

Emily Henderson

Total monthly visits: 661.35k
Percentage of traffic from social: 8.53%
Top-performing platforms: Pinterest

Remodelista

Total monthly visits: 646.74k
Percentage of traffic from social: 10.27%
Top-performing platforms: Pinterest

Beauty and skincare

Makeup

Total monthly visits: 620.16k
Percentage of traffic from social: 5.8%
Top-performing platforms: Pinterest, Facebook

Going Zero Waste

Total monthly visits: 314.86k
Percentage of traffic from social: 8.68%
Top-performing platforms: Pinterest

Total Beauty

Total monthly visits: 1.17m
Percentage of traffic from social: 6.03%
Top-performing platforms: Pinterest

Vampy Varnish

Total monthly visits: 82.25k
Percentage of traffic from social: 3.02%
Top-performing platforms: Pinterest, Facebook

The Beauty Look Book

Total monthly visits: 223.02k
Percentage of traffic from social: 3.06%
Top-performing platforms: Pinterest, Instagram

Hiking and camping

Beyond The Tent

Total monthly visits: 182.51k
Percentage of traffic from social: 4.88%
Top-performing platforms: Pinterest

50 Campfires

Total monthly visits: 167.19k
Percentage of traffic from social: 4.57%
Top-performing platforms: Pinterest, Facebook

Cool of the Wild

Total monthly visits: 224.57k
Percentage of traffic from social: 1.9%
Top-performing platforms: Pinterest

The Hiking Life

Total monthly visits: 133.34k
Percentage of traffic from social: 1.84%
Top-performing platforms: Reddit

The Trek

Total monthly visits: 329.68k
Percentage of traffic from social: 14.02%
Top-performing platforms: Facebook

Bodybuilding and growing muscle

Invictus Fitness

Total monthly visits: 238.14k
Percentage of traffic from social: 2.28%
Top-performing platforms: Facebook, Pinterest

Mike Reinold

Total monthly visits: 185.68k
Percentage of traffic from social: 6.24%
Top-performing platforms: Facebook, Pinterest

Thenx

Total monthly visits: 477.47k
Percentage of traffic from social: 29.98%
Top-performing platforms: Youtube

Advanced Human Performance

Total monthly visits: 207.86k
Percentage of traffic from social: 6.25%
Top-performing platforms: Youtube

Starting Strongman

Total monthly visits: 88.13k
Percentage of traffic from social: 16.49%
Top-performing platforms: Reddit, Facebook

Platform breakdown

Youtube

Youtube is probably the best social media site you can put your time into right now. Videos that you upload to Youtube work exactly the same as articles on your website, SEO-wise. The only difference (a big one) is you don't own the Youtube platform, so be sure to backup all your videos, because Youtube sometimes bans accounts for almost no reason. Once you get a good number of videos up you will start getting some traffic from Youtube and this number will only grow.

Ranking on Youtube is much, much easier than ranking on Google for the same keywords. There's just a much bigger barrier of entry to creating videos than writing articles. The truth is, anyone can create videos now, so there's no excuse for not doing it now.

Youtube is the only social media platform where the content you create will keep on giving you traffic almost forever.

An example of great Youtube marketing is the Income School. As you can see, it's no rocket science. Just 2 pals talking about some topic for 15+ minutes. And they're generating massive traffic and profits because of it.

Pinterest

Pinterest is a close second. It works really well if your website is in one of the following niches:

  • Hobbies and interests
  • Food and drink
  • Home decor
  • Hair and beauty
  • Health and fitness
  • Holidays and events
  • Kids and parenting
  • Men's fashion
  • Travel
  • Women's fashion

Although your actions on Pinterest will usually yield only temporary benefits of traffic, it's still easy to get enough of it to matter. If you own a niche site that fits the demographics of Pinterest, you shouldn't miss out on this opportunity.

Here are some interesting statistics about Pinterest:

  • Pinterest attracts over 300 million users monthly.
  • Pinterest reaches over 80 percent of women aged 25-54 in the US.
  • Over 50 percent of new users in 2018 were men. There is a chance that Pinterest will become a platform popular with all genders in the future.
  • Higher-income, well-educated US users are twice as likely to use Pinterest as lower-income and less-educated people.
  • Over 80 percent of women on Pinterest use the platform to plan their important celebrations and improve their home decor.
  • Over 90 percent of users try out the ideas they find on Pinterest.
  • Over 90 percent of heavy-users plan their purchasing decisions using Pinterest.

Source: Pinterest

If your content is good and you know what you're doing, it's relatively easy to get 50k-100k additional monthly traffic from Pinterest with an hour of pinning every day. It's no accident that most of the websites I analyzed are getting a significant portion of their social traffic from Pinterest.

Lil' Luna is getting over a quarter million monthly visitors from Pinterest.

Facebook

Facebook used to be good. Now it pretty much sucks, unless you're doing paid ads.

There are only 2 use cases where it's worth doing it:

  1. You're running a big business. You've got a full-time social media manager who's going to blast your Facebook page with unique, awesome content and interact with people all day.
  2. You want to run a Facebook group for your community. It works really well for some sites!

Running a group is fine, but remember that:

  • You don't own Facebook. You have no idea what will happen in the future. Facebook pages used to perform well and then, a few years ago, Facebook changed everything in favor of paid ads.
  • You're sending your audience away from your page to a 3rd party, just to funnel them back later to your website. Kind of a weird move.

I'd rather just focus on really solid email marketing, or implementing some kind of community functionality on your website.

Stopping Scams is a great example of Facebook marketing done the right way.

Instagram

Bad. Lately, Instagram is utter crap. It used to be good. A few years ago. Now it's saturated with bots and bullshit.

Instagram is only good if:

  • You own a huge brand with a big marketing budget and are able to pay tens of thousands of dollars to real influencers to promote you.
  • You're in a very specific niche like selling bracelets, hippie t-shirts, eco cosmetics, or custom watches and you want to do giveaways and market this way.

Even if your niche fits Instagram's audience, you will be better off spending your time doing Pinterest marketing.

I suggest you don't even create an account there. Unless you're planning on becoming VSCO, that is.

Twitter

Twitter won't get you any traffic unless you're such an excellent copywriter that your tweets go viral.

Like this guy.

For the rest of us, it's a waste of time.

Reddit

Reddit is a good traffic source. The problem with Reddit is, you can't really make it happen on demand. It kind of has to happen organically. Unless you want to use some shady methods, you can't submit your website to Reddit every day. The platform has strong community-based moderation and rules against blog spam.

What I would recommend is - whenever you create a REALLY exceptional Value Post, post it to an appropriate subreddit. Don't do it more often than twice a month.

Don't even try submitting any Commercial Posts.

Someone who's doing well with Reddit: The Hiking Life.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is pointless unless your niche is HR, job recruitment and other corporate-related stuff. Tried in the past with several niches, didn't see much success.

Tumblr

Tumblr is a platform mostly used by young people. If this is your demographic and you have a solid marketing strategy, then it’s worth to spend your time and efforts on Tumblr.

Snapchat

Same story as with Tumblr. Snapchat is a weird video platform used primarily by young people. Btw, the content on Snapchat is super-ephemeral.

Medium

Medium was very good a few years ago. I used to write short versions of my posts as bait and put them up on Medium with a link back to my website. They would rank quickly and they would rank high.

Recently, Google stopped favoring posts that appear on Medium. Right now it's just as hard to rank a post on your own website as on Medium, so I recommend not bothering yourself with this platform.

Conclusions

Youtube is great. Almost anyone can and should make videos. Even if they are not the best, they will get you some traffic. Don't worry too much about your equipment, your accent, or what exactly you're saying. Don't try to make them perfect.

Pinterest is an awesome traffic tool if what your niche does well on that platform. It's one of the most time-efficient ways to get traffic right now. Actually, when choosing a niche for a new site, I would make sure that it exists on Pinterest.

Facebook is alright if you can't be on Pinterest and you want to have a place for your community. Then again, I'd focus more on email marketing and think about creating some kind of community functionality on my own website.

Just remember, SEO and developing your own site is way better than spending time on social media. The bigger you grow, the less percentage of traffic you will get from social media - there is no way around it. Posting to social media just doesn't scale unless you have a team of social media managers working under you. In the long run, it's so much more efficient to focus on SEO and producing evergreen content for your site than time-sensitive posts on your social media platforms. Remember, nobody will ever take your site away from you. Youtube is the most long-lasting out of all of them, but still, you don't own the platform, so don't put all eggs in that basket either.

Social media is a good addition to your traffic strategy. In the first 2 years or so it can provide these early gains and profits that you need. Later, depending on your niche and strategy, it can become less significant. Still, any good marketer should be well-versed in the world of social media platforms.

About the author

Living on the road for over ten years felt a bit unreal. Traveled to more than a hundred countries and met my wife along the way. In the end decided to settle down in a smaller city in Spain.

Please don't leave comments that are in any way hostile to me or my readers. They won't be approved. Constructive criticism is welcome, but I simply don't have the time to answer all of the trolls. This comment section is only welcome to friendly, positive-minded people who wish to add something meaningful to the conversation. If you don't like the language that I'm using or stories that I'm telling, you are free to choose one of the million other blogs where you can read the usual politically-correct fairy tales. You won't convert me. Hats off to those who get it!

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