The first monthly 'authority report' was published by analytics platform Parse.ly yesterday.
The report "takes a look at the state of the industry as assessed from our analytics data spanning 5 billion page views per month", John Levitt from Parse.ly told Journalism.co.uk by email.
The research analysed data from "hundreds of online news publishers", all of which are Parse.ly clients, and found, perhaps unsurprisingly, that Google was the top driver of traffic in July, followed by Facebook.
The research tracked referrals from 'news sites' which do not use Parse.ly and from 'Parse.ly sites', which the report defines as traffic "from one Parse.ly site to another".
When the Parse.ly news sites, which include Mashable and Atlantic Media, are added to the other news sites, it was found that they resulted in nearly 80 million page views in July. This means that news sites are the third highest traffic driver to other news sites, according to the report.
Parse.ly states: "It’s no surprise that Google dominates in terms of traffic delivered to the Parse.ly network, but what is surprising is how much publishers deliver traffic to one another. If you combine Parse.ly sites with news sites, they would be the third highest source of traffic – just after Facebook."
The report found that in terms of social referrals, Facebook drove traffic to more than 70 million pages of news sites included in the study in July, compared to Twitter with almost 30 million, and Pinterest with 10 million.
The report also looked at RSS readers as traffic drivers. "Who wins when Google shuts down its Google Reader product?" it asks. "Feedly, that’s who. By a long shot", according to the report.
Feedly drove traffic to more than 7 million news site pages in July, followed by Pulse.me, The Old Reader, Bloglovin and Netvibes, each driving less than 1 million page views each.
Parse.ly announced yesterday that it has raised an additional $5 million in funding.