What can publishers do about Facebook’s news feed changes? - Reuters News Agency

What can publishers do about Facebook’s news feed changes?

In the latest Reuters Institute report almost half of publishers (44%) expressed more concern about the power and influence of platforms than this time last year.

By Ella Wilks-Harper | Jan 24, 2018

In the latest Reuters Institute report almost half of publishers (44%) expressed more concern about the power and influence of platforms than this time last year.

This year marks major changes in the relationship between publishers and platforms. In January, Facebook announced changes to its news feed. The news feed is set to favor user content over posts from businesses, brands and the media.

On behalf of the International News Media Association (INMA), Grzegorz Piechota shared insights into how publishers are already responding to future changes to Facebook’s news feed.

Piechota examines the impact of digital platforms on business models on international news organizations. Let’s take a look at his key points…

Journalism, Media & Technology: Trends & Predictions 2018 report

The use of messaging platforms for news is increasing, with WhatsApp growing by 15% in the last year. Researchers found that around a quarter (23%) of respondents now discuss, share and find news using one or more messaging apps”

Predicted impact on publishers

Since Facebook’s announcement, Piechota interviewed social media managers of News Corp. Australia, Schibsted Norway and Dennik N in Slovakia. He found:

  • Although exposure of news publishers to Facebook varies news brands might see up to 12% total page views at risk
  • There will be a decrease in reach of posts, shares by pages, video watch time and referral traffic
  • Increased competition for keywords on ads

What are tactical ways to respond?

1. Grow with influencers

Many publishers are investing in influencers to grow. Influencers tend to be bloggers, vloggers or celebrities. Last year, Cosmopolitan launched an influencer network, allowing clients to partner with and integrate influencer-generated content for campaigns.

Blasting News, a social news platform has built 102 million monthly visitors by creating a network of micro-influencers. Influencers are paid to contribute and there are communities built around specific topics, such as Game of Thrones. Currently. The site currently has 1500 influencers contributing.

2. Engage with groups

Facebook groups offer publishers the opportunity engage with existing groups and nurture theme-oriented communities.

Last year The Boston Globe launched a private, subscriber-only Facebook group. Now it has around 3000 members. According to Matt Karolian, director of audience engagement at the Globe, an average post in the group attracts nearly double the number of comments as a post on the site’s main Facebook page.

3. Explore other platforms

Reuters Institute data found that the use of messaging platforms for news is increasing, with WhatsApp growing by 15% in the last year. Researchers found that around a quarter (23%) of respondents now discuss, share and find news using one or more messaging apps.

Consequently, Piechota advises that publishers should explore other platforms to increase growth. Other platforms to consider include YouTube, Instagram and LinkedIn. Instagram has also become one of the fastest growing networks in the last two years.

In the latest Reuters Institute report, Journalism, Media and Technology Trends and Predictions 2018, researchers predict that we will see a further move to messaging platforms. The report finds that publishers are already investing in content that is visual and in swipeable formats.

Other developments to look out for is Facebook Messenger Kids. A platform set to be rolled out this year that is focused on under-13s. Research in the US shows that three out of five parents say their under-13s use messaging apps, social media, or both.

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