Publishers turn to ads, search following Facebook’s News Feed change

Chris Tolles should be freaking out right now. As CEO of news aggregation site Topix, his is one of the media companies that would seemingly be most affected by Facebook’s recent News Feed algorithm change, which is expected to throttle the traffic the social network sends to publishers’ sites. According to SimilarWeb, in December 2016, Topix received 37 percent of its US desktop visitors from Facebook. Yet Tolles isn’t too troubled.

“We’ve experienced this platform holdback before with search,” said Tolles, referring to Google’s Panda update, which choked traffic to sites that published content specifically designed to rank highly in its search results. Following Google’s move, Topix switched its focus from search to social, publishing slideshows, quizzes and other articles intended to elicit high engagement. But it also adjusted its approach to harnessing platforms to attract traffic — turning to purchasing paid media.

“The whole thesis was we’re going to get traffic by working with platforms in a way that they should be aligned with, which is to pay them money,” said Tolles.

[Read the full article on MarTech Today.]

About The Author

Tim Peterson
Tim Peterson, Third Door Media's Social Media Reporter, has been covering the digital marketing industry since 2011. He has reported for Advertising Age, Adweek and Direct Marketing News. A born-and-raised Angeleno who graduated from New York University, he currently lives in Los Angeles. He has broken stories on Snapchat's ad plans, Hulu founding CEO Jason Kilar's attempt to take on YouTube and the assemblage of Amazon's ad-tech stack; analyzed YouTube's programming strategy, Facebook's ad-tech ambitions and ad blocking's rise; and documented digital video's biggest annual event VidCon, BuzzFeed's branded video production process and Snapchat Discover's ad load six months after launch. He has also developed tools to monitor brands' early adoption of live-streaming apps, compare Yahoo's and Google's search designs and examine the NFL's YouTube and Facebook video strategies.