Digital Publishing Trends Multiplatform Publishing Strategy

It’s Complicated: Checking In on the Relationship Between Facebook, Publishing

Report from 2016 IMAG conference cites distrust in Facebook-publishing dynamic

The topics don’t get much hotter these days than Facebook publishing, and though the gap between the social network and media companies seems to be closing, there’s a still a frost in the budding friendship.

As Facebook strives to become the global content provider, their reliance on digital publishers has become more pronounced, but some think it’s just a matter of time until it perfects the formula and kicks their current “sources” to the curb. In the meantime, the thinking goes among publishers jumping onboard for Instant Articles, why not try and make a few bucks off of Facebook’s reach? Even if it’s fleeting, and even if it chips away at your brand?

Others say no way.

As is often the case, finding the middle ground is more nuanced than all of that. But for now, it’s a matter of one step forward and two steps back when it comes to comfort and trust between the two sides. reports.

Despite Progress, Facebook, Publishing World Not Always on the Same Page

Publishing on Facebook, especially now with Instant Articles, has never been more of a charged issue. And the issue tends to come to a head when professionals from all sides get together to discuss it, as evidenced by’s recent report from IMAG.

“The somewhat strange and often strained relationship between tech giants – particularly, Facebook – and media companies has become a central theme in the industry in recent months, and publishers’ increased reliance on social media as a source of digital traffic has exacerbated concerns about ad revenue share and the ceded control over publishing platforms, among other things,” Greg Dool writes.

“Late last month, Justin Smith, CEO of Bloomberg Media Group, described the situation to The Guardian as publishers ‘feeding on the scraps’ of Facebook’s billions in ad revenue. … Those misgivings are especially pressing for independent magazine brands, who may not have the brand equity or ancillary revenues of the Hearsts and Time Inc.’s of the world to help offset lost ad revenue, on which they are highly dependent. … In a curious twist, even Facebook’s own Brendan Norman, a client partner in the audience network, recommended publishers consider reinvesting in their own mobile apps, citing the ability to control the platform. One would be naïve to think that when social networks become publishing platforms, as Facebook has, they don’t also recognize the benefits of controlling the medium and a majority share of the revenue that passes through it.”

But Facebook Advertising Is Still Solid as Digital Marketing Plan

Facebook advertising still reigns despite challenges from upstarts like Snapchat, reports.

“According to a recent study by socialfresh, “The Future of Social Media,” 96% of marketers say Facebook generates the best ROI. The 551 digital marketer respondents were allowed to select up to three. Twitter polled second at 63.5% and Facebook-owned Instagram third at 40%,” Caysey Welton writes.


“Facebook also dominates frequency and investment. The respondents were asked which networks they advertise on at least once a month, and the order remains the same: Facebook 61%, Twitter 32%, Instagram 30%. The order of importance shifts, however, when the respondents were asked which networks they plan to invest the most over the next year. Facebook remains tops at 76%, but Instagram edges out Twitter with 42% and 41%, respectively.”

How the Harvard Business Review Is Driving Website Traffic

Harvard Business Review is one of our favorite magazines for how they approach, well, business, and a recent article on shows why.

“I would say that the goal was not so much to increase traffic but to increase the frequency of visits by visitors. That’s the really important distinction for us. You can increase the number of people or you can increase the number of times people are coming. To us, we think that second one is more valuable. Pages per session, for example, used to matter, and I would argue it really doesn’t matter at all anymore. Frequency is the one that’s held up over time. Someone’s not going to come back if they don’t like what you did the first time,” Editor Katherine Bell tells Dool.

“The other thing was just the idea that you might be able to come twice by accident through social, maybe not knowing where you were going but just because you were interested in a piece of content, but by the third time, you definitely did that on purpose. … We were surprised that people either seemed to not notice or not care at all that these weren’t brand new pieces of content. We’re lucky in that we publish a lot of content that lasts a really really long time. … That doesn’t mean that we don’t publish on those other things. We publish just as much as we always have because they’re important to us and our readers, but we know that anything we publish will do really well if its about you or you and your team.”

How is your Facebook publishing plan progressing? Tell us about your challenges, triumphs, and fears in the comments!

To read more about the state of the Facebook-publishing union, visit

By Don Nicholas

Founder & Executive Publisher

Don Nicholas serves as Executive Publisher for Food Gardening Network and GreenPrints. He is responsible for all creative, technical, and financial aspects of these multiplatform brands. As senior member of the editorial team, he provides structural guidance, sets standards, and coordinates activities with the technology and business teams. Don is an active gardener whose favorite crops include tomatoes, basil, blueberries, and corn. He and his wife Gail live and work in southern Massachusetts surrounded by forests, family farms, cranberry bogs, and nearby beaches. Don is also the Founder of Mequoda Systems, LLC, which operates and supports numerous online communities including I Like Crochet, I Like Knitting, and We Like Sewing.

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