If you’re sticking with your content approach from three years ago, it’s now 50% less effective. Our review of 100 million articles published in 2017 found that social sharing has halved since 2015. Independent studies have also found a reduction in referrals from Facebook following various newsfeed changes. However, while some sites have lost two thirds of their social referrals, others have dramatically increased social engagement with their content.

Our 2018 Content Trends Report reveals what has happened, and what you can do about it.

You can download the full report here (PDF 3.9Mb).

Below is a summary of the key findings.

The key content trends are as follows:

  • Based on a sample of 100 million posts published in 2017, social sharing of content has been cut in half since 2015.
  • Social traffic referrals have declined sharply, with Google sites now driving twice as many referrals to publishers.
  • Average sharing of content on social networks fell due to increased competition, a rise in private sharing and Facebook algorithm changes.
  • The Facebook changes have had a major impact on levels of engagement and the types of content that gets shared. As a result:
    • Brands and publishers are gaining less organic referral traffic from Facebook and less engagement with their Facebook posts.
    • There has been a sharp decline in viral posts that gain hundreds of thousands of shares.
    • Clickbait style headlines and listicles are far less effective at generating social engagement than they were.
  • The volume of content published continues to increase, and new topic areas get rapidly saturated with content.
  • In this new world of content saturation and falling social shares, the big winners are sites that have built a strong reputation for original, authoritative content.
  • The majority of content gets zero backlinks but authoritative research and reference content continues to gain links. In particular, authoritative evergreen content consistently gains shares and links over time.
  • There has been a growth in content sharing on LinkedIn and many publishers are seeing steady increases in content engagement on the platform albeit from a relatively small base.
  • And finally, no surprise here, there is more sharing of partisan political or tribal content.
Sample of 100 million blog posts shows 50 percent decline in social shares from 2015. Content Trends Report provides in-depth analysis of the factors driving the decrease, as well as a look at the websites that continue to succeed. Includes data-based insight into successful content strategies.

6 Responses to “Content Trends 2018: BuzzSumo Research Report”

  1. Alberto Carranza

    No more useless social media hacks :/

    • Susan Moeller

      Agree—I do think that using social to connect with people and build an audience is key. But the day of hacks is over. –Susan

  2. Srividhya

    Timely report! Content quality and promotion will always be key.

  3. Muyiwa Osifuye

    1) It is very obvious that as each so-called hack is identified and deployed, everybody joins the bandwagon.
    Thereafter, a bottleneck is ultimately created. It is just a matter of time.

    2) Some prevailing Apps and tactics will no longer be efficient, as it were, in getting the attention of prospective consumers who are profoundly overloaded with information.
    Yet, aggressive competition –in whatever guise –increases for their short attention span and distraction.

    In the nearest future, more energy and tactics will have to be directed to the classical offline channels.
    Here awareness will be brought to the consumers even if the products/services are served online.
    So flesh to flesh salesmanship will be rekindled again irrespective of the platform a business is situated– Online or offline.

  4. Valora

    This article matches up exactly with what I have been seeing online. I personally hate click bait and have never used it so that can go as far as I am concerned. I just try to concentrate on quality content and engaging with my viewers.

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