I was recently talking on chat about the analytics information available to 25k+ users. This is normally pretty boring, but I went to have a look and I was somewhat surprised. These are the top ten sites that have sent us traffic over the past month:
(full statistics here.) A lot of this comes internally from the Stack Exchange network - I suspect, primarily, through the Hot Network Questions Sidebar - but we do have a fair amount of other external sources.
In particular, I was surprised to find that the topmost non-SE referrer is news360.com, a web recommendations app, which is responsible for about 1% of visits. (This is because that chart only accounts for the 3.1% of visits that come referred from external sites. 7.2% are marked as direct visits, and 89% come from search engines, with 97% of those coming from Google.)
Remarkably, the news360 traffic is even bigger than what we get from Facebook: that's also around 1%, but a distinct 5% less than the news360 counts. This is for a site that's incomparably small (4M users according to Wikipedia compared to Facebook's billion+ users, so there's probably something specific at play here.
So, what do I want to say about this? Well, first, this is a curious enough observation as is. Secondly, though, I would like to know if there are any ways we can explore what kind of questions that news360 traffic is landing on. With Stack Overflow, we mostly know where it's going on (HNQs, with all the good stuff and all the bad stuff that entails), but I'm in the dark as to what kind of content is getting extra attention from that external source, and I'm not sure the same kind of intuitions about facebook-driven traffic also apply here.
So... is there something useful we can say about that traffic? And, if so, does it tell us something useful about the site and how we can improve it?