Publishers wonder what will happen to their traffic if Facebook drops news from its news feed entirely, as some fear. Danish broadcaster TV Midt Vest found out just that when it stopped posting content to Facebook for two weeks in January.
The regional news broadcaster, which gets around 40 percent of its referral traffic from Facebook, ran the test as part of a long-term plan to wean itself off the platform.
Unsurprisingly, the broadcaster saw a 27 percent drop in visitors to its site, a 20 percent drop in sessions and a 10 percent decline in pageviews.
But the readers who remained averaged 42 percent more time within articles and read 12 percent more pages per session than they did prior to the test, according to the broadcaster. Readers also read more articles once fly-by Facebook traffic wasn’t part of the equation.
For example, the broadcaster used to post nine to 16 articles or videos a day on Facebook, and usually it was one specific article that would catch fire on Facebook and cause traffic to spike. When it stopped posting to Facebook, traffic was more evenly distributed with each person reading around three to four stories.