Saturday, 12 November 2011

Newspapers on social networks: who's most visible in the UK?

Newspapers on social networks: who's most visible in the UK?

Posted by Federica Cherubini on November 10, 2011 at 3:39 PM
As often underlined, there's a battle out there for news sites to find a way to stand out of the hullabaloo of the web, reach a wider audience, attract more readers and stay profitable.
In the race, social networking and bookmarking sites are playing an essential role. As it was recently reported, in fact, the boundaries between social media and news are increasingly thinner.

A recent survey in the UK analysed data on the links from twelve UK newspaper web sites to see how visible they are on social networks. The study, conducted by Searchmetrics, analysed how often content from the 12 leading newspaper sites in the UK was shared on six popular social networking and bookmarking sites: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, Delicious and Google+.
According to a press release, Dailymail.co.uk led the list of 'most visible,' followed by Guardian.co.uk. Figures for the Dailymail.co.uk said that links to its pages have being shared 2,908,779 times a week on average while Guardian.co.uk followed with an average 2,587,258 links. These two sites are the most read UK news sites.
The study is a confirmation of how news and articles shared and recommended by friends and followers are important as sources of traffic for online news sites.
As previously established by a Pew Center study that analysed online news reading habits in the US, the trend is moving from "searching for news to sharing news." That research showed that direct traffic to news websites accounts for 60 - 65% of the total, while traffic from links (the referred traffic) makes up 35 - 40%. Also, the study revealed that while Google was still the top source of traffic to top news sites (accounting for 30%), Facebook was growing and seemed likely to catch up.
Going back to the Searchmetrics study, CEO Dr Horst Joepen commented, as quoted in the press release: "It's worth noting that search engines, such as Google and Bing are starting to include popularity on social networks as a factor when judging the quality of web pages and how they should be ranked in search listings. So it's important for news and other web sites to build and monitor visibility on social sites if they want to rank highly and attract visitors via search".
Interestingly, analysing the spread of social networks on which newspaper's pages were shared over a six month period, StumpleUpon emerged as an increasingly popular social bookmarking site. The analysis of the Dailymail.co.uk's pages shared, revealed that the site received over half of its links (50.78 per cent) on StumbleUpon, with Facebook activity (likes, shares and comments) accounting for 45.87 per cent and links on Twitter 3.21 per cent.
These figures seems to go in the direction of confirming what, as previously reported last August, StumbleUpon's founder Garrett Camp claimed that is that his site was driving more than half of all social media referral traffic in the US.
Regardless of which network is accounting for the highest figures, the growing role of social media in news reading is unquestionable and the game is all still to play for.

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