Why Publishers Need to Stop Caring So Much About FB Reach

A newly released report out of the UK this week provides an interesting twist on the trust bump conversation. For a while now, we’ve been sharing the stats that most consumers trust what they read in magazines over what they find on social platforms. This new report takes the results one step further.

“The survey showed that readers’ trust in premium publishers is higher than news content on social media, with 79% trusting the BBC, 61% trusting The Times and The Guardian, while only 36% said they trusted news on Facebook and Twitter,” writes Scarlett O’Donoghue in Mediatel.

And thanks in large part to that trust, the researchers report that readers are more likely to engage with a media story on the publisher’s site that on a social platform.

“The research also revealed that consumers engage more with stories on premium publisher sites, with 53% more likely to read an article on The Guardian than on Facebook, where only 18% of respondents admit to spending more than 30 minutes reading news on the platform,” O’Donoghue continues.

This point bears repeating: Readers are more likely to engage with an article on a publisher’s site, rather than via Facebook or another social platform.

That’s great news for publishers – unless, of course, they are relying on Facebook for their distribution. With publisher news feed changes looming, brands have a tough choice: Pay for ads to reach their followers, or lose out on news feed exposure. And as publisher reach continues to drop, the question needs to be addressed now.

It’s almost 2018, and 2017 was a year where some of the veils were lifted. We peeked behind the curtain at the digital ad chaos and decided it was time for digital to grow up. Maybe it’s time for publishers to grow up, too, in a certain way, and stop relying on third-party distribution.

Stats like the ones in this week’s survey make it pretty clear that even if you get engagement on social platforms, it’s far less valuable than a visit to your own site.

Can a publisher really create a model that doesn’t rely on the changing whims and vagaries of social media? They must. Let’s embrace the opportunity of 2018 as the year publishers take back control of digital destiny.