WhatsApp: Potential To Drive More Referral Traffic Than Twitter?


USA Today’s sports section, FTW, recently added a ‘Share to WhatsApp’ button to all of their articles. According to a USA Today case study, 18 percent of the total social sharing of FTW content is now happening using WhatsApp. That’s 5% more than Twitter. And that’s significant.

Since introducing a WhatsApp sharing button to its mobile site a week ago, FTW has already seen WhatsApp shares climb to 18 percent of the site’s overall sharing activity. That’s higher than Twitter (13 percent) but still significantly lower than email (35 percent) and Facebook (34 percent).

Ok, so I went to ftw.usatoday.com on my phone. Sure enough, there’s a WhatsApp icon up by the other sharing buttons. When I tap it, it brings me into WhatsApp, and then I can select what conversation I want to share it in. They even add a summary that goes with the link (see my screenshot below). Well done.

WhatsApp Link Share

My insight about WhatsApp being significant source of referral traffic

I’m very curious to find out how much traffic is driven to FTW by WhatsApp in comparison to Twitter. Can they even determine that?

Since the sharing that happens on WhatsApp is between you and your close(r) contacts, they are more likely to click the link. We can safely assume that, right? That’s not necessarily the case with Twitter. The difference is that if you have a large number of followers — let’s say 100,000 — and .5% of them click the link, that’s still 500 visitors.

All of this is part of a larger trend that Mary Meeker highlights in the latest Internet Trends report. Slide 37 sums it up:

Messaging Evolution


If you use social media platforms — like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook — to engage your audience, you ought to start thinking of ways to utilize “private networks”. There’s a lot of potential to be innovative here. If you know me, I’ll probably be the first to try.

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