Publishers lose up to 20% traffic after Facebook’s news blockade, but there’s some good news

What's New in Publishing 22 Feb 2021 01:06

Australia wanted Big Tech to pay for news. Facebook didn’t. 

Rather than pay media companies in return for linking to their stories, as a forthcoming Australian law would require, the social network blocked sharing of news on its platform in the country, the most extensive restrictions it has ever placed on publishers anywhere in the world.

Facebook’s move had an immediate impact on traffic to Australian news sites, according to early data from New York-based analytics firm Chartbeat. 

Total traffic to Australian news sites fell by around 13% within the country, compared to the day before the ban. 

Source: Nieman Journalism Lab

The most dramatic fall in traffic to Australian sites was from readers outside the country, which fell by more than 20%.

Source: Nieman Journalism Lab

Chartbeat also saw a large drop in traffic to news sites from readers within Australia. And it looked at referral traffic from Facebook vs. Google Search to Australian publishers. You would expect to see Google Searches rise when the percentage of traffic from Facebook fall. But the analysts at Chartbeat didn’t see an increase in Google Search traffic in terms of absolute numbers.

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