A market research conducted by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism found that Facebook bagged the second spot behind Google as the top referring service. The study brought out the role of Facebook in increasing the traffic to most popular news websites in the United States.
The Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism collected data during the first nine months of 2010 using audience statistics from the Nielsen Co. The research studied the behaviour of online news consumers and examined the 25 most popular news websites in US.
The study reviewed how users get to the new sites, how long they stay in these sites, how deep they explore a site and where they go when they leave these sites.
The study found that an average of 40 percent of the traffic to the top 25 news sites comes from outside referrals like Google Search, Google News, Drudge Report and Yahoo. About 30 percent of the traffic was driven by Google Search alone.
Interestingly, the study found that Facebook, with more than 600 million active users, was the second or third most important driver of traffic for the top 25 news sites.
The Huffington Post is the biggest gainer of the Facebook referring. Its eight percent of visitors land on the site through Facebook referrals.