Is organic social traffic still possible in 2020? Networks ranked!

Which social networks can give you organic social traffic in
2020? That’s a question many online marketers are asking
themselves right now. Organic traffic from social media sites has
dropped a lot and continues to drop to this day – so the question
of whether free social media traffic is still worth the effort is
important.

Neil Patel has recently published a video about organic social
media traffic highlighting the results of a survey he conducted in
which he asked over 400 companies for their findings when using the
most important social networks for traffic.

You can watch the video along with Neil’s conclusions below.
My conclusions, however, are slightly different than his, and I
will give them to you in this article.

Neil comes to the conclusion, that the social networks that are
most valuable in terms of traffic are:

1. Pinterest
2. LinkedIn
3. Youtube
4. Facebook
5. Twitter
6. Instagram

As you are going to read in this article, I come to a different
conclusion than Neil.

Why is organic social traffic an important topic?

When watching the online marketing world and successful online
marketers on the internet, it may seem like organic social media
traffic is simply not worth it anymore.

People like Sam Ovens
and Scott Oldford are
almost exclusively working with advertising traffic – and having
massive success with it. But organic traffic still is very
important for marketers like you and me – because when you are
starting out you don’t have the money or the intelligence to work
almost exclusively with advertising.

When you work with advertising, you need to make more then what
you put in. Or in other words – you need to make more than a
dollar for every dollar you pay.

And when you are starting out, you then face two problems:

  • You may not have the money to invest upfront into traffic.
  • Even when you have the money you may still not have the time to
    optimize those advertising campaigns quickly enough to make them
    profitable.

So what you do when starting out is you look for alternative
sources of traffic – traffic sources that allow you to easily
gain a lot of traffic for free or at least cost-effective.

And there are only two traffic sources with high potential: SEO
(Search Engine Optimization) and organic social media traffic.

Organic social media traffic is what we talk about when we talk
about all traffic from social networks that is not based on
advertising.

And the amount of organic social media traffic that all networks
are giving to its users is dropping:

Organic Social Traffic over Time

Organic Social Traffic over time – image taken as a screenshot
from Neil Patel’s video here.

What the above graph shows is, that the amount of traffic the
surveyed companies get from 100 followers each month on average
over the most important social networks has been steadily dropping
over the last five years.

From roughly 3.5 in 2015 to roughly 2 in 2019. That’s a third
of the traffic.

But… It is important that we are not talking about potential
web traffic here. This is not the amount of traffic you can get
from social networks. This is why it’s important to work on your
own personal growth strategy. Because the potential gain from each
of these social networks is a lot higher than that.

Why do I rank other networks high for organic social traffic?

In his video, Neil examines the raw data from his survey results
and draws his conclusion from there. He does not take other factors
into account, like how a specific social network is used – and
that is a mistake.

I use the same raw data for comparison – but I also take these
other factors into account. For instance – we both rank Pinterest
high on our lists – but for completely different reasons.

Here is where Neil, in my opinion, takes his ranking into a
completely wrong direction:

Average number of organic monthly visitors.

The average number of organic monthly visitors by network –
image taken as a screenshot from Neil Patel’s video here.

Neil bases his conclusions on the visitors generated from the
number of followers over the course of a month. And that is a
massive mistake – because not all networks are follower based.
And even on those that are – how you use them makes a massive
difference.

If these numbers would really the traffic potential for organic
social traffic on each of those networks, then I would say stop.
Don’t go for free traffic. This would mean that on Pinterest, you
would need 100,000 followers to get 4500 monthly unique visitors
from this platform.

Luckily, that isn’t the case. That’s why we put so much
effort into testing and optimizing social media growth
strategies.

Because the truth is: Social Media has long stopped to be just
about the number of followers.

Every social network is different in how it works and how you
should use it and leaving this out of the equation when talking
about the organic social media traffic you can generate by using
each platform means you are treating every platform exactly the
same way.

Here is another example on how Neil treats every social network
the same way: The following graph shows you the impact of the post
frequency on the amount of traffic they see per 100 followers over
the course of a month:

Impact of Posting Frequency on traffic -

Impact of posting frequency on traffic – image taken as a
screenshot from Neil Patel’s video here.

As you can see, this graph seems to show, that you see the most
growth of traffic until you reach 8 posts PER MONTH. Neil Patel
attributes this to the fact that the more content you create, the
less time you spend on the actual pieces of content you create for
each platform.

And there is some truth in that. If your post is a Youtube
video, then you can probably not create more than 8 engaging videos
per month on a limited budget.

This graph is averaged over all social networks. And that is
where this methodology simply doesn’t make any sense.

Posting on Twitter is something completely different if you
compare it to Youtube videos. A tweet only takes a couple of
seconds – and not every tweet needs to be content at all – a
headline and a link will do.

A Facebook or LinkedIn post is somewhere in between. On
Instagram, it depends on where your topic and how easy photo
subjects are available to you. Pinterest only consists of images
that link to content.

And so on.

With all that out of the way, let’s head into which social
networks I recommend for organic social traffic in 2020.

The Ranking of the best Social Networks for Organic Social Traffic
in 2020

Below I’m going to give you my personal ranking for the best
social networks for organic social traffic in 2020. I’ll quickly
go over each of these and tell you why I ranked it in this way –
and explain the general principle of how they work.

Just like Neil Patel, I will focus on the 5 most important
social networks only – otherwise, this article would blow up in
my typewriter… Ah, laptop, I mean.

And the winner is: Pinterest.

I knew this day would come – in the past years, I would have
ranked Twitter in front all the time. It wouldn’t even have been
a fair fight… when used right, Twitter was always lightyears
ahead of any other social network.

But, today is the day. Twitter has been declining slightly in
prominence over each past year – and Pinterest has been catching
up in massive steps.

If I would only rank these on the amount of traffic you can get
from each, Twitter might actually still be slightly ahead – but I
also took the amount of effort into account you have to put in. And
that is where Pinterest is now ahead. Twitter is the classic social
network – your followers see what you do in real-time. Which
means you need a lot of followers.

Pinterest is different – your followers only matter a small
amount. Even with a small number of followers, you can still get
massive traffic from Pinterest.

The reason is that Pinterest is highly algorithmic. The “smart
feed” (that’s what Pinterest calls its algorithm) decides who
is most likely to like which type of content and then shows each
user what he wants and is most likely to interact with.

This means that with a strategy presenting your audience what
they want, you can achieve success with a relatively small amount
of posts and followers.

(This doesn’t mean that Pinterest marketing is always easy.
But it’s doable – for everyone.)

Read more: How
To Use Pinterest Video Pins To Get More Traffic In 10 Minutes Per
Day

3
Pinterest Myths That Can Seriously Hurt Your Blog Traffic

Number 2: Twitter

This is where Neil and I differ in our opinions the most. In my
experience, Twitter has massive traffic potential.

But, you need two things for that:

  • A vast amount of followers.
  • A vast amount of tweets.

The good news is: Twitter makes it the easiest to grow your
tribe of followers – by interacting with people directly. Which
is where Twitter is the most open social network for the new social
media marketer.

The good news part two: Twitter allows you to use a massive
amount of tools to automate a lot of your activity and still bring
value to your audience.

The good news part three: Twitter doesn’t go as far as other
networks when it comes to limiting your potential to reach
algorithmically. Not by a long shot.

If you get your automation and growth tactics right, if you
engage with your audience, you can gain a massive amount of
followers while tweeting 10 times or more every day!

And that is where you will gain a lot of traffic!

The reason Twitter ranks low in Neil Patel’s comparison is
that most people still don’t understand how you need to use
Twitter for growth.

Read more:

4
Most Important Ways to Get Leads from Twitter

Why I still love
Twitter – Podcast Episode

Number 3: Youtube

Another different social network. While on other networks you
can get away with posting links (at least part of the time) –
Youtube requires original content. And not just that – it
requires video content.

For a lot of people the effort you have to put into creating
videos will be too much – and in a lot of niches that type of
content requires a massive budget to be able to compete and to
generate traffic and traction.

But when you can do that – there is no denying that Youtube
can get you a massive amount of traffic.

Neil Patel is currently huge on working with video himself –
and there is a reason for that. It just works for him. But he has
the type of budget that is required for that. If you can only
produce videos twice a year or your videos are lacking in quality
compared to your niche, then you probably shouldn’t do it.

Read more: 6
Crazy Ways to Improve Your Publishing Experience on Youtube

Number 4: LinkedIn

LinkedIn is still a massive force – if you are looking for
true business leads. Everyone who is interested in business content
and business connections has a LinkedIn account and is usually
actively using it.

But you need a follower growth strategy on LinkedIn if you want
to generate traffic. And yes, followers count more than
connections. At least when we are not talking about true
connections but connections that were generated by seemingly random
contact requests.

Still, LinkedIn has a massive potential to get you traffic.

For follower growth tactics – you need to work with groups
(either by using existing groups or by founding your own) and you
need to actively engage with your audience. It does work well for
many companies for organic social traffic.

Read more: LinkedIn:
Engagement Comes First (and You’re Using it Wrong)

Number 5: Facebook

Facebook was one of the first true superstars of the social
media world. And in the early days, when Facebook was still
interested in growth, it was a massive traffic generator.

But it was also the first network that started to limit the
organic reach of fanpages and even personal profiles. These days,
organic reach is only available when you have a high interaction
rate and post high-quality content – preferably content that
doesn’t just link to other content for instance on your
website.

If your content is slightly below the top 1% of the content
posted on there, then your only chance is to get ready to pay for
advertising.

You can still get organic traffic by using growth tactics like
using Facebook groups, but organic reach when only employing a
fanpage is very low.

Read more: Why
Facebook Groups should be Part of your Marketing Plan – Podcast
Episode

Number 6: Instagram

Instagram ranks lowest on this list for a reason – it has just
not been built with traffic generation in mind. There are some
opportunities for links – like the swipe ups in stories, but the
whole DNA of Instagram says “use me as a standalone platform.”
What I mean by that is that Instagram is for people who use
Instagram instead of their own website.

That doesn’t work for every business – and you may still
want to be active on Instagram with your business for other reasons
like branding. But Instagram will never be the traffic generation
machine your business and websites can rely on for organic social
traffic.

Read more: How
Brands Can Leverage Instagram Stories

Final words

So there you have it – my ranking of the most important social
networks for organic social traffic in 2020 differs from Neil
Patel’s – and where we agree, we do it for different reasons.
Instagram is an exception.

Neil’s point comes from a statistical analysis of how
companies are already using social media platforms right now –
and from a very limited set of questions.

I disagree with his analysis. But that is just me coming from
different intelligence and different opinions.

If there is a lesson you should learn here, then it is, that you
should never take what marketing pros tell you for granted. Not
what I tell you, not what Neil Patel tells you. Neil Patel is one
of the most successful marketers on the web – and maybe the best
(seriously, the guy is awesome and get’s my full respect). But
that doesn’t mean he cannot be wrong.

If your insights go against something you read on the web, then
go by your guts. The online marketing landscape changes quickly –
and neither Neil, nor me, nor anybody else, has it all figured
out.

(Just in case you wondered: There is more data and interesting
data in Neil’s video – for instance on video views on different
platforms. Go
check it out!
)

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Is organic social traffic still possible in 2020? Networks
ranked!
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Is organic social traffic still possible in 2020? Networks ranked!