Facebook’s Referrals To Media Sites Up 170% YOY, New “Stories To Share” Tells Pages What To Post

Facebook wants to get more news content in its feed by proving to media sites it’s their premier social ally. Today it announced referral traffic to media sites is up an average of 170% this year. It also launched the “Stories To Share” tool, which aims to drive even more traffic by suggesting which articles media sites should post to their Pages but haven’t yet.

There are plenty of places for media sites to share on the web, and Facebook wants to prove that it’s the place they should go first…and most frequently.

In a statistics dump this morning, it cites that a SimpleReach study that says 62% of referral traffic to media sites from social networks comes from Facebook. It didn’t share any absolute traffic numbers, but notes that this year TIME’s referral traffic from Facebook is up 208%, BuzzFeed is up 855% and Bleacher Report is up 1,081%. But it found that sites could get even more referral traffic by posting more often to their Page. A study with 29 sites over seven days found that posting to the News Feed 57% more often caused an 80% increase in referral traffic.

More content posted to Facebook also helps…Facebook. It monetizes by showing ads around compelling content in the feed from users and publishers. While Facebook typically claims its product changes aren’t about earning more revenue, this time it admitted the benefit to monetization.

“When, people find Facebook more engaging, people spend more time on Facebook and see more ads, so one of our goals is to get people to use Facebook more,” Facebook’s head of platform Justin Osofsky tells me. “It’s important to make Facebook more engaging first and foremost because it creates a great user experience, but that also help our business.”

Stories To Share

Screen shot 2013-10-21 at 11.15.15 AMSo to get publishers to post more content to the News Feed through their Pages, today it’s launching “Stories To Share” on the admin panel of Pages for media sites and publishers. The little box looks at what links to a Page’s site are being shared most frequently by users and getting the most in engagement, but haven’t been posted by the Page yet. With a quick click, admins can compose and share a story for that link.

We’re seeing about a half dozen Stories To Share listed on TechCrunch’s Page. The feature defaults to tell admins what’s hot from the last day, but they can filter to show which of their posts are trending in the last three hours or two days.

The Traffic For Content Exchange

The move comes as part of Facebook’s multi-pronged push to tell media sites “if you scratch our back, we’ll scratch yours.” It now lets media publishers embed posts to spice up their articles — and show the world Facebook is a real-time news source, too. It’s providing APIs to web publishers and TV outlets that show who is talking about what most frequently to lend data to their posts and broadcasts — and get wide, mainstream exposure for Facebook as a place to talk about current events. And it allows Pages to promote their posts so they’re seen by more of their fans — by paying Faebook for Promoted Post ads

Facebook can’t survive without great content that pulls people back to the feed. Luckily it has a massive traffic carrot it can use to tempt media sites to publish to it and talk about it.