Discover more from Business Side
Finding authentic growth channels
Plus, news orgs in talks with AI platforms
Fun news here at Business Side: We’re moving from private beta to public beta.
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Thanks for coming along on this journey with us. With that, let’s jump into today’s edition:
A persistent question for publishers is how much to invest in each social media platform.
This is becoming increasingly important as Facebook referrals continue to decline. Reporting published over the weekend found that across a group of 2,000 publishers, the share of traffic from Facebook is down 50% YoY.
Here at Business Side, we’ve been considering how to approach social growth ourselves. Today, I’ll walk through our own framework for evaluating which social platform to prioritize and share where we landed. (This is a new type of post for us – analyzing a strategic question through the lens of our own publication. Feel free to give us a shout with any thoughts or feedback.)
At the outset, we decided that we’d prioritize only one social platform, at least for now. We’re just a two-person team, and we know we’ll learn most quickly if we’re focused.
Since we’re a Substack newsletter, we took a look at social referral traffic to the substack.com domain as a whole. According to SimilarWeb, here is how it breaks down:
Of course this data made Twitter a leading contender. But we wanted to analyze the question through some additional lenses.
First, we considered our particular audience – professionals who work on the business side of digital media. Given that we’re reaching professionals, LinkedIn deserved a bump in consideration.
Second, we thought about non-paid outreach opportunities. We are looking to build a core community of people who are deeply interested in the space. On this front, LinkedIn’s search & outreach tools give it another bump.
Last, we thought about authenticity. Every social platform has its own tone or vibe — what social platform best matches ours? At our core, we’re looking to be helpful – we’re more earnest than snarky; more optimistic than pessimistic. Through this lens, LinkedIn gets another bump.
So… see you on LinkedIn! We’d love it if you follow our page and look out for our posts there.
In this decision, we wanted data to guide us – and data certainly narrowed the choices. But in all digital media, even professional content, aesthetics plays a role. And particularly with limited resources, one has to consider the best personality fit, as well as what feels most energizing.
Here’s the latest news in digital media:
Top news orgs & big tech are in talks about AI. Executives from News Corp, Axel Springer, The New York Times, and The Guardian have been meeting with companies such as OpenAI, Google, and Microsoft. An article from the FT quotes publishers pushing for compensation from big tech companies, though big tech representatives seem non-committal. The reporting comes as Google separately shared that it now has licensing agreements with over 1,500 publications as it works within the EU Copyright Directive.
The Guardian’s AI working group released principles for using AI tools. Human oversight will be key, and they plan to use AI tools that have “considered key issues such as permissioning, transparency and fair reward” in their training data. The Guardian also sees AI as a driver of efficiency & quality, “for example by helping journalists interrogate large data sets, assisting colleagues through corrections or suggestions, creating ideas for marketing campaigns, or reducing the bureaucracy of time-consuming business processes.”
Gannett will use AI to create bulleted summaries, to be reviewed by journalists before publication. Gannett spent two weeks training an AI model on 1,000 stories and corresponding summaries written by reporters, in partnership with AI company Cohere.
Insider’s EIC painted a bleak picture. Nich Carlson wrote in a letter to staff, “Traffic is down. Subs are down. Video views are down… I’m talking about a changing reading and watching environment where Facebook is no longer sharing links, Snapchat is sunk, people aren’t hanging on Trump’s every word anymore, and there’s no more pandemic to demand you read the news every day… We are in for a fight to earn our audience and earn our existence into the future.” Insider will be implementing a “smart paywall” based on people’s propensity to pay, and it’s launching an “AI pilot group.”
Pew analyzed top-ranked podcasts. The top three topics are true crime (24%), politics & government (10%), and entertainment & pop culture (9%). And the top formats are deep reporting & explainers (38%), interview (23%), and commentary (16%).
More on publishers:
The Guardian banned gambling advertising, saying it’s unethical.
At the LA Times, about 70% of its $233m in revenue still comes from print.
Refinery29 is piloting a live shopping stream on Twitch.
Group Black will sell advertising for NBCUniversal against shows popular with Black audiences.
Conglomerate GoDigital is in talks to buy Vice.
More on revenue streams:
Acast launched a product enabling publishers to offer audio content to their paid subscribers via platforms like Apple podcasts.
Yahoo launched a new ad network offering – participating publishers include Dotdash Meredith, Newsweek, A+E Networks, and The Arena Group.
Local governments are pulling public notice revenue from local publishers to retaliate against critical coverage.
Liberal activists published a report recommending that nonprofit funders support for-profit news organizations and social media creators.
More on platforms & AI:
A Twitch star signed a $100m deal with a rival streaming platform.
Ogilvy is asking marketers to label AI-created influencer content in order to preserve trust in influencer marketing as a whole.
20% of Snap’s users, or 150 million people, have interacted with its AI chatbot, which it plans to leverage for personalized advertising.
Thanks for being a part of Business Side’s public beta. Have a great day!