Facebook’s decision to downplay news from publishers and brands in favor of what it calls “meaningful social interactions” on individual feeds will likely lead audiences back to the original sources of that news, according to a report from CooperKatz.
Citing Pew Research Center numbers, the report finds 45 percent of Americans use Facebook to access news. CK polled 250 Americans via SurveyMonkey to find out where those users will go for news once it becomes less prominent on FB.
Social media sites didn’t do particularly well in the survey. Twitter was the new news source of choice for only six percent of the respondents—and Snapchat, Instagram and LinkedIn came in even lower. Eleven percent said they will seek no new source of information.
Traditional news sources did much better, winning 65 percent of respondents who plan to rely on them for their information.
The CK study has several implications about what this means for both news sources and PR professionals.
For news sources, the fight for loyal readers is likely to become more intense. The study notes the tendency of many people to stick with one or two news outlets rather than surf the web to pick up information from a variety of outlets. Finding and keeping a dedicated audience could become much more difficult.
For the PR industry, this shift could place a renewed importance on earned media. If an increasing number of users are gravitating toward mainstream news sources, placing stories there becomes more attractive.
FB on the other hand, will become less attractive. Breaking through on FB, the report says, will be costly and more difficult. Brands who continue to prioritize FB will need to be prepared to spend more and to devise strategies that are more focused on user engagement.