Checking in on the state of relations between social media, publishers
If successful social media publishers can count on one thing, it’s that they can count on nothing.
Magazines on social media must have a social media strategy in place, but they must also be flexible enough to experiment, pivot, and periodically rethink efforts. Mequoda Members know to diversify their social portfolios, as it were, and to not get discouraged when returns are sluggish.
After all, social media publishers are investors: of time, staff resources, content distribution strategy, and energy.
Facebook and LinkedIn, for instance, have had digital publishers on a yo-yo in recent years, and as you’ll see below, seem headed in different directions at the moment. That’s the key phrase: “at the moment.”
Meanwhile, there’s some speculation that Snapchat has already reached saturation, with rapid growth warping metrics for participating media companies. And looming over all of this is Google’s bid to even the playing field on mobile referral traffic and digital advertising by including the likes of Twitter and Pinterest.
How will it all play out? Only time will tell. For now, Digiday reads the tea leaves for us.
Google AMP Attempts to Counter Facebook Instant Articles and Apple News
Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is debuting, and publishers are simultaneously wary and hopeful, Digiday reports.
“The biggest unknown with AMP is it can’t accommodate all ad formats, limiting their ability to monetize it. AMP, which is led by Google but includes Twitter and Pinterest, brought on a variety of ad tech partners in order to give publishers not only the chance to have user-friendly mobile pages but also control over their monetization. Still, several publishers are in doubt they’ll have as much control, at least at launch, as they do on their sites — if more than with Facebook Instant Articles and Apple News,” Lucia Moses writes.
“The AMP page lists 38 publishers as being on board, including The New York Times, BuzzFeed and Vox Media. As an open-source initiative, any publisher can participate, so far more undoubtedly have made preparations. Many publishers have their own efforts underway to cut their digital page load time, but Google said it’s been able to cut load times by 85 percent, which is probably beyond what many of them can do on their own. The commonly held belief is that since Google’s algorithm favors speed, publishers that aren’t AMP-optimized will suffer in its search results.”
Publishing on LinkedIn Is Back on Pace as Traffic Driver
The push-and-pull between LinkedIn and publishers when it comes to referral traffic has been maddening for the latter, but it appears as if the pendulum has swung back in their favor, Digiday reports.
“LinkedIn did not return requests for comment, but publishers say that the changes are a result of a series of tweaks made to Pulse, LinkedIn’s news aggregation app. In November, it added a feature called ‘universal links,’ which loaded Pulse articles within the app rather than sending readers to the mobile Web,” Ricardo Bilton writes.
“That feature, coupled with the publisher recommendation feature LinkedIn added last September, have made it easier for Pulse users to find and read publisher content. Pulse has been downloaded 1.2 million times since last August, according to Apptopia.”
Snapchat Getting Overcrowded for Social Media Publishers, Lacking Measurement?
Snapchat Discover debuted with much hype and promise, but some publishing executives are wondering whether it was overhype and overpromise. But the channel is still young.
“Snapchat Discover doesn’t look like it can support many more media owners. It will be interesting how it manages that with the user experience,” Hearst Chief Digital Officer Darren Goldsby tells Lucinda Southern.
“We have to recognize that Snapchat is a new platform and they are building up their analytics. I won’t hide that it’s difficult for us to not be able to share the numbers of how well Cosmo is doing on Snapchat, because we have to hire people to work on that platform.”
Is Video the Answer to Decline in Traffic for Facebook Publishers?
Some leading social media publishers on Facebook are shifting their focus from potentially viral article links to video, which the channel’s algorithm currently prefers, Digiday reports.
“The Facebook apocalypse has been uneven. Many publishers that rode the Facebook wave have seen big drops in outlier posts that generated millions of views. Mic CEO Chris Altchek said on a recent Re/code podcast that Mic has seen that happen, too. But Facebook’s newfound emphasis on video has also helped – or perhaps has spurred – the publisher shift to video production,” Bilton writes.
“The shift to video is more evidence that publishers dependent on Facebook have little choice but to follow the algorithm. Right now, Facebook’s algorithm wants video, so these sites provide video. This is a leap into the unknown, however, since unlike viral traffic to back to a publisher’s site, Facebook video cannot right now be monetized.”
Social media publishers: Looking to supercharge your side-door traffic? Start with a free download of our Organic Audience Development Strategy Handbook!
To read more about social media publishers in the news, visit Digiday.