Facebook has recently changed an algorithm that controls which sites get highlighted in your News Feeds, effectively limiting traffic to viral publishers such as Upworthy, ViralNova and the like. Not only has this cleaned up your news feeds, it’s also going to change the viral content industry. So what’s changed? Let’s take a look.
What Changed, Exactly?
At the start of December, Facebook announced changes to their News Feed which would ensure better content was being delivered to users. As always, it’s hard to guess what Facebook means when they say things like this, so it’s taken a few months for people doing a little bit of data analysis to work out what has changed. It seems that Comscore worked out that these viral content makers were experiencing a drop in traffic, which implied lowered traffic from Facebook. Digiday and Salon have both written great articles about the results of the changes, so take a read.
Wow. Facebook just did something amazing to crummy meme sites. And what they do next might shock everyone — Salon.com
That’s Great – I’m Sick Of Upworthy!
You’re not alone. Lots of people are sick of Upworthy. So much so that extensions like Downworthy have been built purely to make fun of linkbait headlines. In fact, Digiday noted that this Facebook traffic lull may simply be due to users are tiring of these linkbait sites. Unlikely, but perhaps so. Whatever the reason, if you’re sick of Upworthy you need not do anything. It’s likely that Facebook will reduce the amount of links you see. If this isn’t good enough, you can manually work on curating your news feed.
Between November 2013 and January 2014, a long list of so-called “social publishers” saw their traffic dip substantially, according to comScore. Traffic to Upworthy dropped 51 percent. Traffic to Elite Daily dropped 47 percent. Traffic to Vice dropped 22 percent, to BroBible by 17 percent, to Huffington Post by 16 percent. Between December and January traffic to Distractify and Thought Catalog dropped 30 percent and 7 percent, respectively. — Digiday
What If I Want To See Upworthy Links On Facebook?
If you love Upworthy or any of the other viral-content-producing sites, all you need to do to keep seeing their stuff is to specifically let Facebook know. I mean, it’s not like they’re going to stop producing content or stop getting shared on Facebook.
First step is to like their Facebook Page. Now you need to add the page to a specific Interest List as shown above. Maybe make a topic called “Viral Content” so you can easily get rid of them later if you change your mind.
If You Are A Content Producer
If you run a Facebook Page or a website producing content you hope will be shared on Facebook, there are still plenty of ways to get your content noticed. For starters, read up on ways to make your Facebook Page popular, including generic popularity tips for Facebook, interesting apps for your Page, tips to improve your Edgerank and how to make your blog look great on Facebook. Follow the links in the section above on creating Interest Lists, then teach your fans how to make Interest Lists that will include your page.
Pro-tip: Don’t depend on an outside social network for your traffic.
— Michael Roston (@michaelroston) February 11, 2014
Most importantly, keep making great content that readers actually enjoy reading. Maybe there will soon come a day when Facebook feeds actually show us only what we want to read, with nothing extra and nothing left out. We can hope.
Have you noticed certain content providers disappearing from your news feed?