Finding news on Facebook

Not to toot my own horn, but the number of likes on one of my client’s Facebook page rose 30 percent this summer after I took over branding the news organization.

It got me thinking; how important is Facebook to sending people to news sites? We’ve all seen the newsreaders via The Washington Post and the Huffington Post. It seems to work well for them, if not just to break down their readership by demographic. For my client, the percentage of referral traffic jumped from 9 to 13 percent of total traffic during that time. Sidenote: Google Analytics does not fully report total social referral traffic numbers, so that percentage only represents about 8 percent of the total readership during that time.

I did a bit of research and found that 70 percent of referral traffic from Facebook was precipitated through friends and family shares, ie., if your FB friends are reading it then chances are you will, too. Conversely, only 13 percent of Facebook users receive their news from journalists or the actual news organizations themselves. The goal then would be to encourage your website’s users to publish your articles on their Facebook pages directly instead of solely relying on “shares” and “likes.”

Furthermore, the number of people receiving their news using a mobile device, including smart phones and tablets, has increased 400 percent with my client. Toot, toot. According to a Pew Research report, the number of people receiving their news on a desktop or laptop via Facebook is at 6 percent, a smartphone is 7 percent and a tablet is 8 percent. Remember to always think like your reader.

Direct traffic still results in the largest amount of readership at 36 percent, followed by keyword searches at 32 percent, a news organization’s app at 29 percent and Facebook and Twitter at 9 percent, according to Pew.

Read the full report here.

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