Facebook Inc traffic to some of the top news publishers has declined substantially at double-digit rates in the Q2 of this year, as per a new report from a leading web analytics firm. Putting together the latest monthly ranking of the largest U.S. media firm and publishers, SimilarWeb found that MSN is at the top with almost 2bn desktop and mobile page-views. At the same time, the chart measures what SimilarWeb refers to as the total number of Facebook visits to a publisher’s sites.
Big decline for largest news publishers
A massive decline of as much as 50% has been seen in Facebook Inc visits to some media firms in comparison with Q1. It was also found that the most significant drop in traffic from Facebook had been experienced by some of the largest news publishers on the web.
Newsweek owner IBT Media and TheStreet.com were among the biggest losers with visits drop by 47% and 53% respectively, in the Q2. As per SimilarWeb’s ranking, declines of 26%, 25%, 25%, 35% and 28% were seen the traffic to the Gannett newspaper chain’s, New York Times, Time, Vox and German Giant Axel Springer (the owner of Business Insider), respectively.
SimilarWeb also measures traffic to individual websites, and sharp declines were seen in these too from the start of the year. A 33% decline was seen in CNN’s Facebook visits from Facebook, while it was 26% for the Washington Post and 38% for Politico’s.
Why is Facebook traffic dropping?
The SimilarWeb figures have been disputed by several publishing-industry insiders, but declines in the traffic – over the past few months – has been described by other analytics and measurement services as well. This is happening, most likely, because of the many changes that have been made to the site’s ranking algorithms.
The social networking giant made a change – earlier this year – de-emphasizing articles from mainstream media sites in favor of posts from a user’s friends and family. The media firms are very much reliant on Facebook traffic for a large proportion of their ad revenue, thus even a small decline can have a huge impact.
BuzzFeed publisher – Dao Nguyen – said that the SimilarWeb numbers are applicable only to desktop visits from Facebook, suggesting some decline could be because of the web traffic moving to mobile. Facebook has 1.4bn users and half of those make use of mobile devices primarily for accessing the site.
SocialFlow – a Social analytics firm – recently said a massive decline of 52% has been seen in the reach of a particular post on Facebook Inc for some publishers from January through July. The firm, however, noted that since media companies are producing more content nowadays, it could limit the reach of any post.
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