Stories to Share, which is being tested with a limited number of pages, provides media organizations with suggestions of stories that have been published to their websites but not shared with their Facebook fans, and the page administrators for those Facebook pages can select and post those stories directly from their dashboards.
Facebook tested the feature with 29 media sites over one week, and the results were convincing, as the social network detailed in a Newsroom post:
We worked with 29 media sites over a seven-day period to find out exactly how their referral traffic could be impacted if they increased the number of times they posted to their Facebook pages. The net result: Posting more frequently increases referral traffic by over 80 percent.
Within that week, the media sites averaged an increase in the number of articles they posted to their pages by 57 percent. This resulted in an 89 percent increase in average outbound clicks to their domains. Additionally, the amount of likes per post increased by over 10 percent, and the number of net fans per page went up by 49 percent.
While this experiment was run with a small number of media sites and does not represent every type of Facebook page, media sites that posted more frequently saw more traffic. Since every person has a unique relationship with the pages they are connected to, there’s no magic number of how many more posts will impact referral traffic for all Facebook pages. Page administrators should test how increased posting impacts their referrals, likes, and overall engagement.
The social network introduced the public feed application-programming interface and the keyword insights API for media organizations in September.
And, specifically on the television side, Facebook announced in late September that it would begin sending weekly reports to the “Big Four” television networks — ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC — and a “small number of select partners,” detailing the number of actions (likes, comments, and shares) generated by specific episodes, as well as how many Facebook users were responsible for those actions.
Earlier this month, the social network expanded that TV initiative to 10 networks in eight overseas countries.
Facebook’s announcement of Stories to Share also included the following testimonials from some of its media partners:
Time Executive Director of Audience Development Laura Heck:
Facebook has provided enormous opportunities for Time to engage new audiences and lead the conversation. We’ve driven significant growth through a variety of efforts, including optimization of on-site share tools, responsive design for mobile, and developing a highly engaged Facebook fan page that now has over 1.6 million likes. Next month, we will unveil a brand new Time.com built around a mobile-first strategy, in which Facebook will continue to play a very important role.
Bleacher Report Director of Emerging Media Bennett Spector:
We made an aggressive push in 2013 to capitalize on our hyper-engaged Facebook community. Bleacher Report’s relationship with Facebook has evolved into a significant one. The referral growth has been truly remarkable, and we don’t foresee it slowing down any time soon.
Facebook isn’t just our biggest social referral source — it is our biggest source of traffic, period. Our rapid growth in readers from Facebook is a big reason why we’ve been able to hire so many great reporters in the past year, including foreign correspondents, investigative journalists, and, yes, cute animal picture curators, who all make the kind of high-quality content Facebook users love to share.
Readers: Do you think Stories to Share will prove to be a useful tool for media organizations on Facebook?