There’s been a key shift in mobile traffic trends and news consumption: mobile direct traffic to publishers is now greater than traffic sent by Facebook to publishers’ sites. This aligns with recent Magid proprietary insights from our 2018 NAB Study which found if local TV stations posted on Facebook less, many local TV page followers say they would go elsewhere to find their news – TV newscasts, mobile apps/websites, etc.
Given the direction mobile news consumption is going, here are a few ways news organizations can capitalize on the trend to further drive traffic to their own sites vs. Facebook.
SEM/SEO is still important – and needs to evolve
Google search is how many users will find information, yet many publishers have yet to master or understand that SEM/SEO needs to constantly evolve.
One simple approach to refining your current SEO strategy is to approach keywords from a predictive standpoint. In other words, ask the question: “How would someone search for a topic if they couldn’t immediately get that content from their social media?” This can help publishers reframe their content and focus on the content first, then the channel.
Facebook should work for the brand, not the other way around
Likewise, publishers should be creating content that is compelling enough to intrigue their fans on Facebook, but ultimately drives them to their owned products for the full experience. This may seem like common sense, but many publishers are still doing the opposite – providing the full value on their social channels and only having their owned products supplement that.
Ads delivered on popular third-party apps could also be supplemental content built by publishers that ultimately drive consumers to their owned products.
OTT exclusivity is key
When major news events occur, like coverage of the midterm elections, news organizations need to leverage the social media buzz around the event by creating unique social content that compels the user to go to OTT for the full payoff. Publishers should consider developing exclusive content that adds rich value to the story that can only be found on the OTT product.
What about other social channels?
While our focus has been on Facebook and how the platform is falling behind in mobile traffic to publishers, it’s worth to note that other platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram, are seeing an increase. Twitter, meanwhile, has remained stagnant.
However, this doesn’t mean strategy should shift to other social platforms to supplement declining pageviews from Facebook. It would be just as risky to put all your eggs in another social media basket, with ever-changing algorithms and consumers’ changing taste in social media channels. Instead, focus on this as an opportunity to free up resources to create unique content experiences and build a brand that drives direct audience engagement.