The last ten years were vital for the growth and development of digital publishing. According to experts in online journalism, the first phase in online publishing was dominated by link-outs from portals such as MSN or America Online. The second phase consisted of the rise of powerful search engines, such as Google. Already in the third phase, contemporary digital publishing added a new feature, the growing importance of some social-media networks, like Facebook or Twitter.
By far the most influential social network, Facebook reached an impressive 1.7 billion unique active users each month. Moreover, according to several surveys, in 2015 the company managed to score around 30 percent of all digital display ad revenue. That represents an increase of 5 percent compared to the numbers registered in 2014.
Judging the numbers, it is impossible for publishers to ignore the advantages of social media. The presence on Facebook can make a big difference for online journalists.
Unfortunately, all this power may not always work for the benefit of digital publishers. Depending on a third party platform to promote their content may prove to be a forever-changing game.
Facebook has recently announced that they are changing the newsfeed algorithm. According to them, this is part of their strategy to increase user involvement. Despite their large numbers of users, they registered a lack of user implication.
As per several reports, the overall number of posts on Facebook fell around 5 percent from mid-2014 until mid-2015. Moreover, personal posts and sharing registered a worrisome decrease of 21 percent in the same period.
This is a reason for concern as independent users are those who make Facebook a viable and successful platform.
To improve the involvement of independent users, the company will put emphasis on posts from family and friends. While this may be a great thing for regular users, the digital publishing industry has a few reasons to worry. Most likely, the organic reach of a post will decrease, and online journalism platforms will be forced to pay for their posts to be promoted.
Most likely, this limitation will draw several complaints from digital publishers. However, despite this potential wave of dissatisfaction, there is very little they can do. Considering the 1.7 billion users on Facebook, digital publishers cannot afford to remove their account.
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