Facebook Gave Publishers A Huge Boost In The Fourth Quarter

We’ve known for some time that Facebook has been making frequent changes to its News Feed algorithm in order to show users more news content. It’s now evident that Facebook has dramatically boosted the visibility of a variety of publishers — ranging from aggregators to long-form journalism — on its platform.

Facebook users interacted with articles from top publishers approximately twice as much in December of last year as they did in October, according to data collected by content discovery tool NewsWhip Spike, which is used by approximately 1,500 online publishers.

Download the charts and data in Excel.

BuzzFeed was the top publisher on Facebook in December 2013. The nearly 3,000 BuzzFeed articles that made their way onto Facebook last month were shared 5.6 million times and accumulated approximately 26 million total social interactions (shares, likes, and comments).

Back in October, twice as many BuzzFeed articles made it onto Facebook than the number that did in December, but they accumulated 42% fewer social interactions.

Similarly, articles from The Huffington Post generated nearly twice as many interactions on Facebook in December than they did in October, despite about 4,000 fewer articles posted to Facebook in December. Articles from The Huffington Post were shared on Facebook nearly 5 million times in December.

Traditional media publishers are also seeing Facebook users engage more with their content. Articles from The New York Times generated approximately 10 million Facebook interactions in December (about 50% as many as in October), making it the fourth-ranked publisher on the social network.

CNN, NBC, The Daily Mail, The Guardian, and Fox News all saw a significant increase in the number of interactions their articles received on Facebook as well between October and December.

Thinking about these changes from a strategic perspective, it could be that Facebook has increased the visibility of all types of news content so that it can analyse a larger sample size. Over the next few months, Facebook will likely use that analysis to determine which types of content (and even perhaps which publishers) it should give preference to in News Feed rankings.

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