Over the past few years, Facebook has become the most important source of traffic for news sites. Now at least six of them -- including the New York Times, BuzzFeed and National Geographic -- are in talks with Facebook to publish their content directly onto the social network, the New York Times reported Monday.
No longer is Facebook the social network where we post statuses of how we’re feeling in our own words. Rather, the site’s 1.4 billion active members use the platform to share articles like “22 Dogs All Tuckered Out After A Walk” or debate some more insightful topics with their network.
Why the change? In part because consumers’ attention spans are too short. The hope is that the content will load more quickly by being readable within Facebook’s site (expectedly its desktop and mobile versions) instead of being directed to an external site, the Times wrote. This feature is particularly appealing on mobile, where 62 percent of smartphone owners consume their news according to Pew Research.
The move provides more evidence that the homepage for online news organizations is dying. Instead of going directly nytimes.com or buzzfeed.com, many consumers find their news through shared posts on Facebook. Pew Research reported in 2013 that 30 percent of U.S. adults consume news via Facebook.
“If it wasn’t for Facebook news, I’d probably never really know what’s going on in the world because I don’t have time to keep up with the news on a bunch of different locations,” one respondent wrote to Pew.
While previously search engine optimization -- traffic generated from search engines such as Google and Bing -- was king, more publishers have come to rely on social networks.
This transition is something that these social networks have acknowledged. Over the weekend, Twitter cofounder Jack Dorsey thanked journalists for their contributions in growing Twitter’s presence.
With nearly 5 million Facebook followers, The Huffington Post is one of the largest publishers to the social network, according to news aggregator and analysis company NewsWhip.
Facebook’s potential partnerships with media companies follows in the footsteps of Snapchat, the social network for sending disappearing photos and videos. Snapchat, which Facebook once tried to purchase, released Discover, where editorial teams (including Facebook’s potential partner National Geographic) reach their audience through creative videos.
Facebook had already been pushing for publishers to post videos natively on the site in a move that combats sharing YouTube links or directing consumers to a third party. Video content has been a huge focus for Facebook as well as media outlets, including BuzzFeed.
As for monetizing this video content, Facebook has been testing advertising options with partner Fox Sports. For YouTube videos, consumers are able to opt to be partners and have in-house ads or sponsorships which the hosting site takes a fee from.
This advertising revenue and publishing controls remains a tricky part of this partnership. Publishers and Facebook will have to share not only advertising revenue but also traffic data. So not only are big media companies already relying on Facebook for traffic, they’re now considering using the site to serve as a major advertising revenue. Seriously. One site. Here’s to putting your eggs in one basket.