What does a decline in Facebook referrals mean for your business?

social referrals
Copyright Marco Verch

In an era of ‘fake news’ the internet has become a difficult place to navigate. How can we tell misinformation from truth, especially on social media platforms such as Facebook? Recently, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of the mammoth corporation, announced significant changes to the Facebook newsfeed. In a move away from news and commercial posts, Zuckerberg has emphasised a refocus on personal connections. The announcement, which came in January, has left businesses a little bit concerned about what this means for traffic to their own pages.

Facebook: the leading source of referrals

In the current technology driven market, Facebook is a lead source of referrals for businesses. In many cases Facebook transcends even Google as the main source of referral traffic. In order to capitalise on the opportunities provided by social media, every business has had to reassess their marketing strategy to cater for the Facebook platform, and create a digital identity for their brand. While many businesses have been initially apprehensive about the reliance on a social media presence to drive traffic, most now recognise it as a primary means of referral, and any changes to the newsfeed will undoubtedly have an impact. Zuckerberg’s push towards personal content will adversely effect Facebook’s role as a traffic source, in turn seeing a reduction in referrals, and ultimately conversions, across all business platforms.

Some businesses are already noticing a trend towards decline in website traffic via Facebook. A report by Shareaholic has shown a drastic 20% drop in Facebook driven traffic across a sample of websites in the second half of 2017. The decline can be attributed to earlier changes to the newsfeed, as well as a general shift in the way users are interacting with the platform. Zuckerberg’s recent announcement is reflective of the general user’s patterns of use, which is now tending towards less time, and a desire to see less digital marketing in social feeds.

What does this mean for businesses?

Just as businesses have had to adapt to the growth of social media, they will need to remain adaptable in the changing landscape. Those who are dynamic and ready to embrace new ways of interacting with, and attracting referrals, will be poised for success in the digital age.