Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

On the Receiving End of Being De-Prioritized in Facebook’s News Feed

Filip Struhárik, editor and social media manager at Slovakia’s Denník N newspaper:

Our traffic decreased by three percent in November and by nearly six percent in December 2017 (real users, year-on-year). Traffic to some other (mostly smaller) sites fell by tens of percentage points after the Explore Feed test started.

For a long time, Facebook was a main source of traffic for Denník N — around 40 percent of our readers came from Facebook. But this has changed. In December, less than 30 percent of our traffic came from Facebook. In November and December 2017, we had more visitors from Google than from Facebook for the first time (and it’s happening everywhere).

Although our reach, engagement, interactions and consumption have fallen dramatically, something interesting is happening. When we look at our “Reach Engagement Rate”, we can see that it‘s growing, especially after the Explore Feed test started.

What this suggests is that Facebook is concentrating visitors into audiences. This may reduce traffic and minimize the spread of biased and misleading news links amongst casually-interested users, but Struhárik’s post indicates that it could reinforce more active users’ news bubbles too.