It’s well understood that a blog or website’s relevance is measured by the strength of its social media presence. However, that reliance upon social media may have a cost, one that a number of online publishers are either unaware of or simply choose to ignore.
The Need for Social Media
Publishers need social media for a number of reasons. First, social media brings together friends, family members, acquaintances and like-minded individuals under a single real-time platform. When a blog or website publishes content, it’s immediately sent to that site’s loyal followers. The fastest and often easiest way to deliver that content is through social media.
Second, social media is viewed by many publishers as a counterbalance to Google’s never-ending algorithm changes. These changes can position a website at the top of search results one day, and jettison it off the first page the next. If a website can secure more visitors through social media, then it isn’t as heavily reliant upon Google for traffic. This is what it means to be Google-proof.
Third, social media has been universally accepted as the most important, real-time content delivery system online. Social media is now a part everybody’s daily lives and it’s used to stay abreast of everything deemed important. It’s on smartphones, tablets, desktops and laptops. Some people check their social media statuses daily, while others are more religious and verify statuses by the hour or minute. Publishers need social media in order to stay relevant.
Facebook is a Business
By now everyone knows that Google and Facebook aren’t altruistic entities. These are businesses, and like any business, their main goal is to grow market share, drive revenue and increase profit. They are the stalwarts of their respective markets. However, all those Facebook like’s provide Facebook with invaluable information about consumers.
Those “like” buttons provide Facebook with invaluable data concerning likes, dislikes, interests, political affiliations, views, age, sex, marital statuses and a number of other critical demographics. Facebook knows what you like, what you don’t, and most importantly, what you want. So, doesn’t it just make sense that they would put all that valuable market-driven data to good use themselves?
Online publishers have been inadvertently feeding the beast. In fact, Facebook recently put rumors to rest with the long-awaited launch of its direct-to-Facebook publishing platform called “Instant Articles.” This deal represents a foray into the world of online publishing, a pursuit that guarantees that Facebook users remain firmly planted on the social media site.
Facebook has also added to this online publishing capability by recently testing its own search engine. Facebook is quickly becoming more than just a place for users to stay in touch with friends. While advertising has been part of Facebook for years, it is becoming more obvious just how committed the social media giant is to developing stronger and more robust revenue streams.
Eventually, Facebook users will get their news on the social media website. In addition, any search queries posted on Facebook will likely result in Facebook-friendly content provided by publishers solely through Facebook. In order to entice publishers, Facebook is promising high payouts from advertising. But will these percentages last, and if so, for how long?
Facebook’s Instant Articles will be delivered to users through the network’s iOS application. This app means content will load much faster and be delivered more efficiently than through a single publisher’s website. It’s but one way that Facebook is staking a claim to what has long been considered the domain of the online publisher. Now those same publishers may further embolden the social media giant by helping it become a bigger, more relevant source of online content.