Welcome to the world's first Social Media Index. The SMI shows you how much traffic the online publishing industry receives from social media every single day.
The Social Media Index (SMI) shows you the percentage of traffic the online publishing industry receives from social media every single day.
The importance of social media in generating web traffic is a hot topic. Yet there is no central repository that gives the public an insight into what that traffic actually corresponds to. Although there are existing analyses that try to convey this information, the granularity and scope of the SMI is unmatched.
Data from reputable research organisations like Pew is valuable, but focuses mainly on the United States and is only updated every few months due to the cost and logistical challenges of high-quality opinion polls. Research centres like Oxford's Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism provide cross-country data on how people access the news online, but this is only available on a yearly basis. Our data, however, is available on a daily basis, and it does not rely on self-reporting which is known to create difficulties in a variety of fields within the social sciences. The SMI also covers an unrivalled number of countries and publications.
The SMI is the first of its kind, making it possible for anyone to easily identify trends, spot spikes and patterns in social-media generated traffic, and in many cases even identify their cause - whether it is a Facebook algorithm update, an epic celebrity scandal or a tragic bout of violence.
The chart shows the percentage of pageviews from users who visit news publishers' websites from social networks.
The colours show you which social network was most important, and how the importance of each social network changed over time. Facebook has long been the dominant source of traffic, indicated by the grey area at the bottom. The red area indicates the amount of traffic added by Twitter. You can also export the data as a CSV-file to run your own analysis and produce your own visualisations.
Tick the boxes below the chart to overlay it with important political, economic and cultural events. This will allow you to see what was responsible for spikes in social media-generated traffic.
To compile this chart, we look at the traffic sources for over a hundred different news websites across the world - from London to LA and from Singapore to Santiago de Chile - covering news, economics, business, tech, culture, science, entertainment and a wide variety of specialist subjects.
Every morning, we count the total number of visitors and pageviews over the previous day, as well as the number of visitors who came from social media. The SMI is the ratio of pageviews from social media-derived visitors over total pageviews.
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Our mission is to make the new oceans of data navigable for humans. Over the next few months, we are going to share with you a broad array of indicators and data visualisations, updated in real time and free to use. This is data about all of us and about our world, and we are passionate about making it available to everyone online.
There is a lot of debate about the role and importance of social media, with issues ranging from fake news to privacy. We hope that the SMI will spark more quality research by making it easy to quickly understand the background on which the latest social media developments unfold.
Giving back to the community is important to us, so anyone is permitted to use the SMI for personal, commercial or academic purposes. All we ask for is that you mention Echobox with a link back to either the SMI or our main website and/or add our logo (dark, bright, transparent dark or transparent bright).
We hope you will find this data as useful and fascinating as we do, and we hope that it will inspire passionate debate, thoughtful discussion and data-driven analysis for our time.
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