23 March 2017

Matt McAlister

The ups and downs of using Facebook like a home page

Publishers are using Facebook like a home page and getting impressive results. But the data shows what you get from Facebook depends very much on what you put into it.

Cory Haik, Chief Strategy Officer at Mic predicted a year ago that “distributed platforms and native environments will be more valuable than the traditional homepage.” *

The Guardian optimizes Facebook posts for organic sharing uplift. Source: Kaleida, 2017
Publishers are using Facebook like a homepage, and the value of doing that is becoming undeniable. At Kaleida we’ve been tracking publishers’ activities across the market, and we can see clearly that Haik was on to something.

Of course, all the big platforms are doing what they can to enable this transition and anything else that helps them control the attention economy. Emily Bell wrote about the implications of this shift in her now famous post ‘Facebook is eating the world’.
“Posting journalism directly to Facebook or other platforms will become the rule rather than the exception. Even maintaining a website could be abandoned in favor of hyperdistribution.”

Most publishers have let pragmatism drive their strategy for dealing with Facebook, and, in some cases, they’ve found real success when they’ve focused on Facebook as a distribution channel.
Without going too deep into the implications of handing more control over to powerful platforms, let’s look more closely at what publishers are actually doing there and to what benefit.