In the past people always relied on news broadcasters, radio stations and the newspaper to stay informed about current events. Today, there are approximately 1.23 BILLION users on Facebook! So while people are browsing, they are tuning into news updates almost instantly as they happen. Facebook has features like Top Trending news – hence, it’s no surprise that companies like CNN and BBC are recognizing the massive benefits of using this platform. In the past people searched for news and tuned into their favourite newscaster or broadcaster. Now the tables have turned. People want the news to come to them.
Facebook constantly looks for new ways to engage its users and increase the frequency and duration of time people spend on the platform. To do this they have created instant news articles with credible high quality content to engage people as they are browsing the site. Over the past couple of years this feature has been introduced and statistics show that the average person would rather turn to social media for the latest news rather than watching it on TV or reading the paper.
In fact 63% of Americans reported getting news on Facebook and Twitter in 2015 versus approximately 50% in 2013. Some statistics show that people spend an average of at least 20 minutes on social media whereas other stats show that people spend at least an hour or more. Regardless of which of these are true, this is a huge percentage of the population using social media daily and specifically for news purposes outlining the drastic shift in the public’s habits.
The Threat to Publishers and News Stations
With this shift in the public’s perception of the News they receive, publishers and news stations must realign their business strategies to adapt to the people’s habits. Therefore companies like CNN and BBC have used avenues online to target their viewers. However they can also fall into a trap of relying too heavily on one media source because they will give up control of their audience to that source. On social media there are many different News companies that broadcast their content in one location. If a company relies too heavily on social media for its viewers than it risks losing them to other features or even competitors content that is published.
Facebook Surpasses Google
According to Parse.ly’s first-party data across 400 publisher sites, Facebook took over Google as the number one source of traffic to publisher sites in July 2015. The company is trying to dominate the share of the market when it comes to publishing and posting news content as a traffic source. This would lead to a reliance on social media to get their News content to their targeted audiences. While publishers and news companies used to rely on their viewers’ loyalty. Now they must depend on social media to get their content out.
Publishers and News Agencies Pay Big Bucks
It is possible to post free content on Facebook but if a company wants to drive significant amount of traffic towards its own content, than you must pay Facebook for these referrals. This is good for Facebook but this payment also creates a reliance on Facebook for traffic. As mentioned, Facebook is trying to trap these publishers and agencies into their site so that they can offer quality content to their users while making these companies reliant on their referrals.
In conclusion we can see a dramatic shift in the way people gain access to news content online. From 2013 to 2015 there has been a 13% increase in the amount of people who use Facebook and Twitter for news. This shift should be taken very seriously by publishers and news companies who intend to keep and gain audiences in the future.
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