Digital Publishing Top Stories
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How readers find articles: Not just search and social

Online publishing is a tricky thing. No matter how good their content is, many publishers feel like they’re at the mercy of Google and Facebook, because all it takes is a tiny change to their algorithms for publishers to lose half their traffic overnight.

When Facebook changed its algorithm earlier this year, publishers scrambled to adapt their content distribution strategy in order to recover the lost traffic.

There is hope for all publishers unwilling to rely on the goodwill of the internet’s gatekeepers however, because a recent study shows that there’s plenty they can do to direct traffic to their articles.

According to, an audience analytics firm tracking thousands of websites, search engines and social media account for “just” 50 per cent of traffic to articles across their network.

In fact, editorial and recirculation, i.e. traffic from homepages, section pages and other editorial promotion, drove more traffic than social media during the survey period (July-August 2018).

Chart 6 Nov 2018 ()
Chart by Statista

This shows that publishers should make their own luck and not rely on the black boxes of Facebook and Google too much.

Email campaigns, section pages and other editorial promotion have a lot of potential in attracting readers and preventing quality content from drowning in the vast sea of online content.

Download the chart here.

Re-published with kind permission of FIPP, the network for global media