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Facebook News On The Nose As Consumer Move Away From Social Media Platforms

Brands looking to invest in social media in particular Meta’s Facebook may want to think twice about their investment with media Companies reporting a 50% collapse in traffic to their sites.

Deloitte research tipped the move last year which is now a problem for both media Companies as well as PR Companies that have been selling their social media services to CE and appliance brands who are looking for social media engagement.

The Financial Review that is owned by Nine Media claim that internal figures used by several local publishers and data from analytics platform SimilarWeb show a precipitous fall in the amount of traffic reaching news articles published locally from Facebook in the last nine months.

They have not said whether the data is their own data, or whether other titles in the Mine Media group such as the Sydney Morning Herald or the Age are witnessing the same fall.

Hardest hits appear to be media Companies that haver inversted in social media traffic over organic direct traffic.

Also noticeable is the recent lift in subscriptions for mainstream media, which some claim is consumers fed up with “Fake News” on social media sites.

Combined referrals from social media platforms for four of Australia’s most popular news websites – news.com.au, nine.com.au, 7news.com.au and abc.net.au – show a fall from nearly 50 million to just over 20 million a month, according to SimilarWeb. Facebook referrals comprise most of that social traffic.

One mid-sized Australian news publisher, who requested anonymity, said its Facebook posts reached 1 million people a month at the beginning of the year. That dropped to under 500,000 by July.

Data from The Social Media Index, which measures global traffic, shows Facebook has fallen to 6 per cent from 12 per cent as a source of referrals for content websites.

Since 2021 Facebook has signed 13 deals with Australian publishers, according to its submission to the government’s one-year review of the code.

Nine Entertainment announced a three-year deal in June 2021. News Corp announced a three-year deal in March 2021.

Facebook also signed with the ABC, Guardian Australia, Mamamia, Seven West Media and Schwartz Media – but then refused to strike a deal with the SBS and The Conversation.

Meta has declined to comment on any changes to its algorithm or a move away from news content but pointed to several data points to illustrate the rationale.

Meta published a report in March that concluded that “accessing news is simply not the reason why most people use our apps”.

Fewer than 3 per cent of posts Facebook users see are links to news articles, while publishers reap “considerable economic benefits” by using Facebook, the company said.

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