Publishers rely on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and occasionally Snapchat to guide potential readers to their own channels. This is a successful approach, as the proportion of visitors who come via social networks has increased significantly in recent years.
In the Im Digital News Report 2016 From Reuters, however, it is also clear how often
News sites in Germany still
's preferred channel
However, it is also clear that younger readers are more likely to consume news directly on Facebook and the like. So if you don't engage with the consumption of news on social media and try out new formats and ways, you will increasingly lose touch with your competitors.
Currently, many publishers certainly do not mind that their own website is still the preferred channel. Incidentally, together with Finland and Japan, Germany is the only country examined that can claim this. At least among readers under 35. In France, Spain, Italy, Brazil and the USA, the situation is already different. Here, social media has taken command, and clearly so.
Use of social networks and ad blockers in line
So there will certainly be news sites that are NOT upset about the current situation. But the frustration stems from another issue: ad blockers. When using ad blockers, we can flip the chart. Because here Germany is far ahead. 39% under 35 use ad blockers. Here two developments meet, which shape the present and future of online news. The preferred way to consume news is through social media, and when websites are visited, ad blockers are used. It is even more extreme in Greece and Poland. Here the ad blocker usage (U 35) is 51% and 56%.
[39% under 35 use ad blockers in Germany]
The development clearly shows that the current situation in Germany will not hold up. The number of social media news consumers using ad blockers at the same time will increase. It won't change that Facebook is the social network of choice for news. Of course, there are country-specific differences that are comparable to the use of mobile messenger apps.
Mobile Messenger before the changing of the guard of social networks?
The leading mobile messengers in a country, are also leading in news consumption. In Asia, messengers are no longer only used for private communication. So it's not surprising that in South Korea, 22% of respondents are most likely to discover news on Messenger. Facebook is just ahead at 24%. Add in cocoa (9%), and South Korea leads the way.
In Japan, Line comes in at 13%, just behind Twitter at 16% and Facebook (both 16%). Leading in Japan is YouTube with 26%.
YouTube is also ahead of mobile messenger apps in Germany. Facebook Messenger does not appear in the Reuters study. WhatsApp is in third place with 10%, ahead of Twitter.
Here, too, a clear trend is emerging. In addition to social networks, mobile messengers are playing an increasingly important role. Facebook has a hot potato with WhatsApp. If WhatsApp is not the leading messenger in a country, Facebook Messenger is used. Asia is an exception. Here the messenger market is even more diversified. China, Japan and South Korea are all dominated by other messenger apps.
Publishers face many challenges and at the same time many opportunities. Ad blockers will be a problem for a long time to come, especially because mobile use is only really getting going at the moment. New formats on Facebook and additional channels such as mobile messengers will continue to gain influence and shape the future of publishers, but also of social networks.