Katya brings us a study from Outbrain that suggests social media site referrals are “less engaged than those from search or other content sites, with fewer page views per session and a higher bounce rate.” The obvious inference here is that visitors from social media sites are inherently a different type of visitor than visitors who arrive from a search engine—Katya calls them “dablbers.”
Search visitors have a lower bounce rate because they are more likely to be looking for something specific and therefore more likely to choose a site they believe will satisfy their request. But, I think the failure to convert social visitors has less to do with the inherent quality of their interest and more to do with our current approach to web design and engagement.
Web design has remained pretty constant for the past 10 years. There have been refinements to SEO, conversion and content best practices, but the underlying design philosophy has evolved with search, not social. Web design still believes it’s the mothership of online strategy in a world now largely ruled by social media. Sure, there now are plug-ins and share buttons on websites, but those are mostly focused on allowing converts to push content out rather than engage social media referrals or creating a truly integrated social brand experience. If web sites are to remain relevant in the coming years there needs to be a radical transformation in our approach to web design and engagement. This is even truer as search becomes social and the lines between platforms melt away.