Over the last years publishers have become heavily dependent on social media for traffic. For some newspapers more than 50 percent of all mobile traffic comes from shared links on Facebook, Twitter et al. In some ways that was good: it has increased overall traffic, it has shown that people really engage with their stories and it has made the publishers less dependent on the first page, where competition for space was fierce.
However, now it’s becoming increasingly obvious that Facebook is taking a stranglehold on publishers.
Last spring, Facebook launched its “Instant articles” – simply explained a closed ecosystem for publishers in the Facebook app. While publishers could still sell their own ads in this system they became increasingly dependent on Facebook for distribution. Any changes to Facebook’s business plans or strategy could have terrifying consequences for publishers, but as previously written it became a matter of “fit in or fuck off”.
Now you can also see the that Facebook has started pushing publishers to join Instant Articles by reducing the traffic they get from traditional posts. Referral traffic (desktop + mobile) to the top 30 most Facebook reliant publishers plunged 32 percent from January to October, according to distribution analysts SimpleReach. That’s a massive decline!
Social traffic tracker SimilarWeb found even scarier drops when they measured the 50 largest publishers on Facebook from January to September: The Huffington Post’s Facebook traffic fell 60 percent and Fox News dropped 48 percent.
Publishers will as any other business online need to continue driving visitors from other channels and platforms, but putting all your eggs in the Facebook basket is cleary a very risky bet.
Attracting users to content is at the heart of Strossle. Right now we’re turning the knobs and optimising the performance of a project we call “the visitor accelerator program”.
Based on the publishers best performing articles we drive traffic between different sites in our vast network of publishers, in order to increase reach and revenue for everyone. Contact co-founder Johan Unger if you want to learn more.
+46 708 168 962