Once upon a time, using social for online publishing was all about signposting stories in the hope readers would come to read them on your own website or app.
Now we live in a world in which publishers are happy distributing their content itself through social platforms – at least, before Facebook’s recent algorithm change.
A just-published May study, 2016 Publisher Outlook, in which AOL surveyed around 600 publishers in the US and UK, found most believe that’s a good thing. More than 90% of them think syndicating through the likes of Facebook Instant Articles, Apple News and Google AMP is a good thing, 53% of say it’s been extremely positive.
“Off-deck distribution came up to us as a surprise,” says Matt Gillis, the SVP of AOL Platforms’ publisher platforms, in this video interview with Beet.TV. “That’s a key indication of where the ecosystem is moving – Consumption is not always happening within your app or on your website.”
But the research, conducted by Insight Now in May, pre-dated Facebook’s decision, a month later, to down-rate publishers’ material in its users’ news feeds, instead prioritizing users’ own status updates.
Since that happened, publishers’ reach through Facebook has actually declined – by as much as 42%, according to one tool vendor, leading some publishers to try using video to bump reach back up.
Video is one of the strategic trends identified by AOL’s report. Thirty percent of publishers believe out-stream, the format which delivers auto-playing video ads between text paragraphs, will drive video ad revenue in the year ahead.