Social Media Referrals for News Sites Are at an All Time Low

Some of the most prominent news sites of the late 2000s and 2010s have started to fold up shop, with Vice and Buzzfeed being two of the most notable corporations that have been facing financial strife. Buzzfeed News has been shut down, and Vice is conducting mass layoffs, and it turns out that a steady decline in referrals from social media sites might be at the root of this with all things having been considered and taken into account.

Data provided by SimilarWeb revealed that these referrals have gone from over five hundred million in mid 2020 to just two hundred million in January of 2023. With all of that having been said and now out of the way, it is important to note that this might be leading to the decline of these sites. Social media referrals are crucial because of the fact that this is the sort of thing that could potentially end up contributing to the virality of content. This worrying sign might indicate that things won’t be looking up anytime soon.

In spite of the fact that this is the case, some major news sites were able to stay relatively immune to the wider downturn. The Daily Mail managed to keep its organic reach high despite the difficulties that were being faced by other companies such as Buzzfeed, although even this company has seen its reach plummet as of late.

Social traffic’s decline will force many companies to acquire a stronger presence on search engines than might have been the case otherwise. 22% of the traffic going to Buzzfeed’s main site, which is far higher than the 8% of traffic that goes to the New York Times from social media sites.

All in all, we are seeing a paradigm shift in how news sites get in touch with readers and consumers. It will be interesting to see how these major organizations adapt to the new normal, since failing to do so has already laid low Pulitzer prize winners like Buzzfeed. The future will be rather uncertain as social media sites try to keep traffic in house as much as possible.

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