Another Look at Marriage Between Facebook, Magazines

Yesterday, we brought you news about ‘complicated’ relationship between Facebook, magazines; today, let’s talk about what’s working well

At IMAG, a big topic was Facebook. Magazines publishing on Facebook, specifically. And, with distrust bubbling to the surface with how the social media giant will use the content they coax from digital publishers, the news we relayed yesterday definitely showed signs of some trouble in paradise.

Today, though, we’re going in a different direction. Digiday recently had a streak of articles on positive trends for Facebook publishers. Let’s have a look at what they found!


When It Comes to Facebook Magazines, Little Things Is Setting the Pace

Little Things might be a flavor of the month, but Facebook magazines could have a lot to learn from it, as demonstrated by a recent Digiday article.

“Most of Little Things traffic comes from Facebook. That’s, of course, a blessing and a curse. Facebook’s rise has made Little Things possible, Speiser readily admits. That’s remarkable. But it’s also risky, since a change in the algorithm could wipe out most of Little Things’ audience. Speiser’s willing to take that risk,” Brian Morrissey writes.

“It wasn’t long ago that Upworthy was being described at the fastest-growing publication in history. That came crashing down as its ‘curiosity gap’ headlines fell out of favor with Facebook’s mysterious, ever-changing algorithm. Little Things will avoid that fate, Speiser said, in part because it is focused on creating original content, not aggregating – sorry curating – other people’s content. Little Things is now 65 percent original content, Speiser said, and hopes to move to over 80 percent by the end of the year. Many publishers are in denial that their strategy is dictated by Facebook’s priorities. It’s not a coincidence that publishers are rushing to spin up video teams when Facebook is putting more video in its feed. See the rush to Facebook Live for this in action. Little Things has no qualms about its need to focus on what Facebook wants. If that means publishing through Instant Articles, it will do so. If that means live video, sure thing.”

More Than Half Know Where Content Is Coming From on Facebook

On Facebook, magazines’ brands might lose luster; that’s the conventional wisdom in the wake of Instant Articles. But is the data bearing that out? Digiday takes a look at recent research.

“New research from Digital Content Next, a trade association for premium publishers, found that most of the time (57 percent), people are aware of which title they’re clicking on when they’re reading on social media. That means fully 43 percent aren’t aware of the publisher behind the story they’re reading, though. The data wasn’t broken down by platform (Facebook, Twitter, etc.),” Lucia Moses writes.


“Publishers are rightly concerned that as people spend more time on social media, they’ll be less likely to visit the publishers’ own sites, where they can control the user experience, gather data on readers and fully monetize them. DCN found that people’s online reading is nearly equally split between publishers’ sites or apps (35 percent), search engines (31 percent) and social media (34 percent). Social media has an opportunity to drive discovery, though; 69 percent said after reading a story on social media, they’d be likely to visit the publisher’s site.”

Getting a Reaction: Emojis and Facebook Publishers

Love them or hate them, reaction emojis are now a part of Facebook. Publishers are a part of that, too. According to Digiday,  reaction emojis comprise 16% of audience “feedback” when it comes to publishing on Facebook.

“Across all 20 publishers, angry was only the fourth-most used, while love was the most popular reaction, used just over 1 million times. Least-used was the wow emoji, used just over half a million times. The data represent yet another set of metrics for publishers to pore over, after likes, shares and comments, as they try to figure out how to deepen their connection with readers,” Moses writes.

“Still, the emojis have been slow to catch on compared to the entrenched like.’ Across the 20 publishers NewsWhip analyzed, the five other reactions totalled 4.7 million, compared to 29.4 million likes. Those findings aren’t surprising, given what marketing firm Quintly saw when it analyzed 130,000 posts and found 97 percent of the interactions on them involved the use of a like. That means only 3 percent involved one of the other reactions.”

Are Facebook, magazines meant to be, or destined for couples counseling? Tell us your thoughts in the comments! 

To read more about Facebook magazines and other industry news, visit Digiday.


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