Social media is where people spend most of their time on the internet and this is a huge audience. Facebook for example has over 1.65 billion active users and Twitter has over 320 million active users. This has led traditional media to come up with digital only editions and new age digital only publishing houses to share their content on these social networks so as to tap on this huge reader base.
We have always known that Facebook is a major outlet for a lot of publishers out there to connect with readers and judging from the research Pew Research released, this is all but true. According to the company, Facebook sends by far the most readers to news sites on mobile, which is not shocking at all.
It gets even more interesting. Most publishers usually generate short and long form articles where short form articles are between 100-999 words and long form articles are over 1000 words. They analyzed 75,000 of this articles and found interesting results:
As expected, people spend more time on long form articles than on short form articles where surprisingly, people spend more time reading them on Twitter than on Facebook. This is also true for short form articles where people spend more time reading them from Twitter than on Facebook.
However, Facebook takes the majority of social media traffic to these stories from publishers where it takes 82% and 84% of the long and short form articles traffic. Twitter takes the cake on spent time on articles (133 seconds for long form, 51 seconds for short). Tumblr wins on the greatest amount of time taken to read long form articles (160 seconds) while Reddit is sort of at the middle when you compare it with other social networks.
This trend will not end soon as Facebook will continue to dominate in traffic referrals. Thanks to their Instant Articles which they availed worldwide to publishers last month, they want to be the only source for news for its 1.65 billion active user base. In addition, they released figures on why publishers should sign up for Instant Articles and this cements the notion they will be an important player in news dissemination.