Some ancient history (in internet time). A big turning point came—and publishers cheered—in 2015 when Facebook drove more traffic to news publishers content than Google.
More recently… But then in last quarter of 2017, traffic from Facebook fell 25%, and Google-driven traffic crept up.
You’ve been warned. This was no surprise, Kim Wilson said, “Facebook has been pretty transparent about that’s the direction they want to go. You can expect less traffic coming through Facebook.”
MSI is a BFD. Mark Zuckerberg has a new mantra for what news content measures up for inclusion in the News Feed: “Meaningful social interactions.” Facebook wants to feature content that friends have liked, commented upon and shared.
Kim Wilson said it, about the Facebook News Feed change: “That’s a big change and not necessarily a good change if you are a content publisher.”
Making MSI work for you. If people are commenting on your content, and your newspaper, as a page, replies, Facebook ranks that as good MSI. “This is one you can control,” Kim Wilson said.
But there’s always a Catch 22, right? Facebook wants comments to drive what news gets on the Feed. Yet, Social News Desk has heard repeatedly from among the 2,500 news organizations it works with that time spent on comments has declined drastically. Facebook users, rightly, think too many commentators are, well, crazy, so they throw up their hands and avoid reading comments.
Easier said than done. To get that MSI engagement, post content that people will like and comment upon.
But here’s an opening. In a series of statements after getting some pushback on the News Feed changes, Mark Zuckerberg said the social network will prioritize “high quality news.” And what’s that? It’s news that’s “trustworthy, informative and local.”
Christina Tenhundfeld said it: “Not all content is created equal.”
So how does Simplemost get such great engagement? They test every story that is published with up to 20 variables—such as headlines, images, graphics—to see what increases reach, likes and comments.
Some best practices.
Images: It’s the way to capture audience attention. Go for bright colors and real, authentic photos. Avoid: stock photos and, for goodness sakes, white backgrounds.
Heds: Headlines should be transparent and honest, and give a reason to click through to the story. “Social titles” (aka, heds) must deliver in the content what they promise.
Captions.v Important: Try to evoke emotion. Never just repeat information from the hed.
Whoops! Don’t think that whatever you post on Facebook is un-fixable just because, um, you can’t fix it after a post is posted. You can change images, heds and more by going to https://developers.facebook.com/tools/debug/.
Want to comment/like/share with Kim Wilson or Christina Tenhundfeld? Email Kim at firstname.lastname@example.org and Christina at Christina.email@example.com