Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Social media not a news saviour

11 March 2014, 08:22

Washington - News organisations get the most engaged readers by working on their own to build brand loyalty, not through referrals from social media or search engines, a study showed on Monday.

The Pew Research Centre found that "direct visitors" who use the news outlet's specific address or have it bookmarked stay about three times as long as those who come from a search engine or Facebook.

"Facebook and search are critical for bringing added views to individual stories, but, the data suggest it is hard to build relationships with those users," said Amy Mitchell, Pew's director of journalism research.

"For news outlets operating under the traditional model and hoping to build a loyal, paying audience, it is critical for users to think of that outlet as the first place they should turn."

The study underscores the challenges of news organisations trying to make a transition from print to digital - and keep revenues flowing.


It also suggests limits to the idea of "social news" helping traditional media organisations.

The study, in collaboration with the Knight Foundation, found a higher level of engagement from direct visitors across the full mix of sites studied.

Even sites such as Buzzfeed and NPR, which have an unusually high level of Facebook traffic, saw greater engagement from those who sought them out directly, the researchers said.

The study found it is difficult for news outlets to convert a "social" referral to a permanent direct visitor.

Of the sites examined, the percentage of direct visitors who also came to the site via Facebook was extremely small, ranging from 0.9% to 2.3%, with the exception of Buzzfeed at 11.3%.

Similarly, the percentage of direct visitors who came to a site through a search engine ranged from 1.3% to 4.1%, with one notable exception - examiner.com at 8.6%.

The researchers studied traffic using comScore data from April to June 2013 at 26 major news sites including CNN, BBC, The New York Times, Huffington Post and others.

Most people accessed the news on their computers using three methods - direct access, search or social media. But a small percentage came from other sources including e-mail, message boards and other websites.

For mobile news, Pew found the browser was used more than a dedicated mobile app, although it noted that only half of the news sites studied had such an app.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
William Korir
CORD to stop Jubilee efforts to r...

The CORD Coalition will not allow plans to remove Kenya from the Rome Statutes take place, it has said. Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
How long will it take Kenya to le...

Kenya is looking to leave the ICC. But what is the process behind the exit? Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
Jubilee resumes efforts to push K...

Kenya will this week resume efforts to leave the ICC court. Read more...

Submitted by
S Mbinya
How to treat him right

Men want to go home to a woman who makes them feel loved and appreciated. Here's how to make him feel special here: Read more...

Submitted by
S Mbinya
Kenyans demand action after femal...

This comes a few days after a female passenger was drugged and then robbed in a matatu plying the Kenyatta – Kencom route. Read more...

Submitted by
S Mbinya
Natural aphrodisiacs to boost lib...

It is advisable to take them before sex in order to achieve maximum benefit. Read more...