Facebook’s News Feed Change has disrupted media all over Europe
A breakdown of how Facebook engagement drops for publishers
- Dutch news pages were hit hardest. Engagement dropped -36% on average in 6 months
- Viral and tabloid types of publishers are affected across Europe
- Video performance was down everywhere
- Article links on Facebook remain more steady
- Local news and broadcasters’ pages grew
Sudden Changes for Netherlands’ News
As publishers across the world braced for the impact of Facebook’s much publicised news feed algorithm change, nowhere was the drop more evident than in the Netherlands. Engagement on news content dropped by 36% in 6 months. Overall, there is a downward trend in every European country analysed so far: Germany (-8%), UK (-14%), and France (-21%).
Virals and tabloids suffer a hit
Viral and tabloid types of publishers who tend to rely on frequent viral posts saw the biggest drops in engagement across all countries studied. In the Netherlands, viral page Dumpert and politically themed De Speld’s engagement has fallen dramatically, while in the UK, the Daily Mail took a huge drop compared to more serious news outlets.
Has Facebook neutered native video?
Breaking down the performance of different types of content, it’s clear that video comes out worst. This can be seen across general news, broadcasters, tabloid and viral publishers.
Article links remain steady
Although now immune to the loss of engagement, it appears that having a strong website and making posts with links to articles is performing relatively well. Comparing May 2017 to May 2018, Dutch television and radio Facebook pages’ engagement dropped nearly 50% while article links lost 31%. This is not the first time a specific content type has been singled out. In 2017, a drop could be seen specifically on photos posted on news publishers’ Facebook pages.
Smaller pages grew during News Feed changes
Smaller, more specialised pages had something to cheer about. Local publishers and broadcasters are now doing better in comparison to bigger news pages. In the Netherlands, many local news, television & radio pages grew their engagement.
Facebook engagement is shrinking for almost everybody: All types of publishers had dropped by May 2018.
Facebook used to stress the importance of native video, in part to encourage people to participate and spend more time on the platform. The extra effort and resources to produce videos could mean that the drop in importance of this content type is a boon for some news publishers.
Facebook’s public announcements regarding algorithm changes do not specify the time of implementation. Only by watching trends in incoming data can they be seen. Facebook made a big announcement in January, but the biggest changes have occurred in Q2.