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.