- SocialFlow research on how Facebook’s latest algorithm impacts media companies found stories posted to the social media platform are reaching 42% fewer people.
- The study discovered that stories posted to Facebook in May reached an average of 68,000 compared to 117,000 in January, a notable drop off for such a short period of time.
- SocialFlow CEO Jim Anderson told Marketing Dive publishers are worried about the drop in traffic, but also have concerns about audience, reach and creating sustainable revenue streams.
Media companies have been skeptical of referral traffic from Facebook for some time. Each time a new algorithm change is introduced, or emphasis is placed one type of content over another, such as with video most recently, it only adds to any concern publishers might have.
Anderson added SocialFlow is also seeing a similar drop in likes, comments and shares, as he put it, “That’s entirely predictable, because people can’t like or share a post they never see.”
He also said the research results confirmed what publishers already understood with their Facebook reach dropping. The study just provided context for what was happening with the rest of the industry.
“Facebook has been wildly successful as platform, and media companies provide a significant portion of the content that makes it so appealing,” Anderson explained. “But Facebook of course controls the algorithms, and gets to adjust how users experience the content in the News Feed.”
SocialFlow expects the numbers to change over time as Facebook continues to tweak its algorithm, and as the type and amount of content that gets shared changes as well as shifts in the content Facebook users find interesting. Anderson said, “As an example, you can imagine that election-related coverage will be very important for the next five months. Probably quite a bit less so after the first week in November.”
That said, as the Financial Times notes, with more readers getting their news off of social media, media brands are sure to be closely watching any new changes Facebook introduces that impact readership or referral traffic.