Study: News sites could see traffic uptick following Facebook algorithm tweak

Two-thirds of survey respondents said they would look for news "directly from the news outlet."

More people will turn to media outlets for news following changes in Facebook’s algorithm, according to a CooperKatz survey.

The survey, which took place on January 23, found almost two-thirds of 250 respondents said they would look for news "directly from the news outlet."

"We expected to see more people saying they’d go to news sources – we did not expect it to be over 65%," said CooperKatz CEO Anne Green. "It underscores how closely we’ll have to watch changing patterns in readership."

The survey found that 11% wouldn’t seek out news at all. The rest of the respondents said they would look for news from Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Instagram, and e-newsletters. Green said this means using a mix of channels would remain important to any campaign or activation.

Facebook recently announced it would tweak its algorithm yet again to de-prioritize posts from brands and publishers, and emphasize those from friends and family. This also means engagement will be measured by comments.

Some experts have predicted publishers’ reach will drop by 80% due to Facebook’s changes.

"Anytime journalism is more constricted in its reach, that’s going to have an impact on us," Green said. "PR is already a mix of earned and paid and other types of content amplifications, so I do feel we will adapt."

A blog by CooperKatz on the study said "earned media will take precedence" given that respondents said they would go to the news source. It also argues for less sensational stories, and that media polarization will persist.

Marketers told Campaign the changes would force their profession to create better content. Publishers also expressed skepticism the change would fix the information bubble problem, or help promote quality content.

The Pew Research Center reported in November that 45% of Americans were accessing news on Facebook, according to the Pew Research Center.

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