No more eyeballs? Social media isn't sharing

Published: 03 October 2023

 a balloon full of eyes floating across an ocean, comic book style, clinical, warm

New statistics show just how steep the drop in referrals for news sites from social media has been

Similarweb data shows the extent to which social media giants have abandoned all types of news content, with a sharp fall off in referrals from both X and Facebook to top news sites.

The fall, reported here, indicates the precipitous drop from mid-2020 to mid-2023, with Facebook alone going from just shy of 120 million referrals to 22.6 million over that period.

A combination of factors has seen the platforms fight shy of news content in all its forms, with the threat of regulation - especially as a US election cycle starts to build lava - being a major driver, and also regulation in the form of pay-for-content deals being made mandatory in jurisdictions such as Australia.

Giving further evidence of this, it has been reported that Meta's head of media partnerships is stepping down from her role, not to be replaced.

As the builder of a headless CMS designed specifically for use in the publishing industry, we know the value of brands. 

With the reliability of social traffic and search traffic falling so quickly (yielding horror stories), we are seeing an era in which the platforms are taking much greater control over what content appears on them. By default, this actually makes them more closely resemble publishers. Even more so, as more and more effectively commission content creators to make stuff for them.

That means that brand will become all-important. The value of good original content is returning.