Facebook has announced that it will open up a platform that will allow publisher websites to host their content on Facebook and the social media giant will pay the publishers a portion of the profits. It sounds great, but it is a deal that should be scrutinized closely before a publisher decides to move their content to Facebook. While Facebook reaches millions of people around the world on a daily basis, there are still elements of the publishing business model that you need to keep in mind as you consider taking Mark Zuckerberg up on his generous offer.
Organic Versus Paid Reach
When you analyze Facebook's ability to gain exposure for media content, you have to take into account the many layers of accessibility Facebook has created for the entire website. For example, a business page that has 5,000 fans will only reach a very small percentage of those fans when it posts on its Facebook page. When a post gains exposure without having to pay for it, then that is called organic reach. According to ConvinceAndConvert.com, the organic reach of any post is only 16 percent. The actual numbers tend to be lower. If you want more exposure than that, then you have to pay for it.
So how would this affect media being hosted on Facebook? When Facebook first started doing business pages, it allowed businesses to interact with all of their fans for free. After a while, Facebook monetized that type of activity and now businesses have to pay. Publishers may want to keep in mind the habit that Facebook has developed for starting off a service for free and then charging for it after the service becomes successful. It could mean that hosting media content on Facebook could become much more expensive than just utilizing a publishing company's own website.
News Is Extremely Popular On Facebook
The advantage of hosting news content on Facebook is that news on Facebook is extremely popular. According to SeekingAlpha.com, Facebook is the top referral site for news providers and the numbers continue to rise. For example, the New York Times gets nearly 24 percent of its referral content from Facebook. That is a huge number and it indicates that a lot of people are using Facebook to find news on the New York Times. It may be much more beneficial and profitable for the New York Times to cut out the middleman and have its content hosted by Facebook.
News websites are always looking for ways to reach a bigger audience and Facebook feels as though it may have the answer. With a large percentage of all online news media referrals coming from Facebook, it makes sense that online publishers would want to go directly to that source and benefit from the potential profitability. But with its habit of taking something good and monetizing it to the point that it becomes an expensive business model, Facebook still stands as a risk for any media website that is thinking about giving up its own hosting service and putting everything on Facebook.