Publishers see the end to Facebook dependence

Publishers have been working to reduce their dependence on the giant social platform, a trend that’ll likely accelerate now that Facebook says it will prioritize users’ posts over publishers’ in the news feed.

To protect against what’s been an ongoing decline in referral traffic, publishers have been adding new social distribution channels, investing more resources in existing ones and beefing up internal tools that deepen the relationships they have with existing users. And while publishers that were overwhelmingly dependent on Facebook show less interest in diversifying their traffic, every publisher contacted for this story sees a major shift coming.

“The stuff that may lose distribution is not stuff publishers are monetizing currently,” said Group Nine CEO Ben Lerer, referring to news feed video that became a huge source of frustration for publishers last year because it hasn’t monetized well. “All publishers are still trying to find a sustainable, scalable business model in Facebook. Without some big changes, we’re not going to get there.”

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