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Publishers Driving Website Traffic Through Social Are Making Changes

Driving website traffic happens beyond Facebook in the world of social; Meredith launches brand for Facebook and hubs; Google outlines Flexible Sampling for publishers 

Driving website traffic is always on the mind of audience development managers. We’re seeing publishers acting in accordance with this notion, as they dive deeper into a variety of locations, including Facebook, but also beyond Facebook.

Today we begin with a look at the shift away from Facebook as publishers try alternative social networks. Digiday reports, “Facebook is still a big source of referral traffic for publishers overall. But it has declined as a referral source relative to Google and left publishers frustrated with lagging monetization opportunities in key areas like video. Meanwhile, other platforms have stepped up, offering publishers more attention (Google and Apple News), financial rewards (Snapchat) and a growing audience and better user experience (Instagram).”

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The article continues with examples of publishers (CNN and HuffPost) trying other audience development strategies for driving website traffic. “CNN’s platform distribution team is de-emphasizing Facebook while increasing its focus on Apple News — Apple’s news aggregation app that’s baked into its mobile devices — and Snapchat, said Andrew Morse, evp at CNN, who oversees its digital editorial efforts.”

HuffPost was the biggest publisher on Facebook last year in total likes, comments and shares, by NewsWhip’s measurement. This year, it’s been making a big push to diversify beyond Facebook to Twitter and Instagram, where it sees a lot of room for growth, said Ethan Klapper, global social media editor for HuffPost. Along with that change in platform focus, he’s reassigning the social team to be subject-centric and audience-centric, rather than platform-centric.”

Our next story looks at Meredith’s new wellness brand and its strategy to focus deeply on Facebook and its social hubs. MediaPost reports, “Meredith Corp. is launching a wellness and health vertical called Strive, which will be distributed on Facebook and on hubs across five of its titles, including Martha Stewart, Shape, Better Homes & Gardens, Parents and Eating Well.”

The article continues with information on the publishing team and the vertical’s focus. “Strive has a team of about 10 dedicated to the new vertical. Jennifer Braunschweiger, editor-in-chief of Strive, will work in collaboration with the editors of Meredith’s titles to create unique content to fit each brand’s specific audience.”

Editorial will include stories on aging, food recipes and interviews. Braunschweiger said video will be a large component of Strive, and it will begin to roll out next month. She said Strive differs from other health and wellness brands because all of its editorial will be backed by research and peer-reviewed medical studies.”

Our last story looks at Google’s replacement of “first click free” with “flexible sampling, the new rules of the program, and how it can aid in driving website traffic for publishers. MediaPost reports, “Richard Gingras, vice president of News at Google, explains how the Mountain View, California company has been working with publishers, allowing each individual publication to determine the best number of free articles and pieces of content, if any, that each reader can access before they have to pay.”

The article continues with new updates to the service. “Along with the news, Google published a set of detailed best practices to help publishers implement flexible sampling and make it easier for readers to subscribe. The two types of sampling that Google advises publishers to use are known as metering — which provides readers with a quota of free articles to consume before encountering a paywall — and lead-in, which offers a portion of an article’s content without it being shown in full.”

Is driving website traffic on your mind too? Do you need help creating an effective audience development strategy? If so, set up a time to chat with us. We have extensive experience with helping publishers increase their website traffic numbers.

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