Daily Scroll: Facebook as traffic king; BuzzFeed’s Dubois insight

27 Oct

The New York Times gives some great insight into just how much we rely on Facebook. Speaking Facebook-friendly platforms, the amazing Alice Dubois discusses BuzzFeed’s product strategy.

Facebook Offers Life Raft, but Publishers Are Wary (N.Y. Times)

The social network now has over 1.3 billion users — a fifth of the planet’s population and has become a force in publishing because of its News Feed, which has been increasingly fine-tuned to feature high-quality content, the kind media companies produce.

Loading publishers’ web pages on a mobile device can be maddening, slowed by advertising that goes out for auction when readers click. So while Facebook loves the content, it hates the clunky technology many publishers use for mobile. When it comes to the impatient hordes on phones, speed matters above all else.

“The traffic they send is astounding and it’s been great that they have made an effort to reach out and boost quality content,” said one digital publishing executive, who declined to be identified so as not to ruffle the feathers of the golden goose. “But all any of us are talking about is when the other shoe might drop.”

“We’ve talked about the importance of a united front so that Facebook gets the message that this isn’t going to work, but that could change if somebody cuts a big revenue-sharing deal,” another publishing executive said.

How Facebook Is Changing the Way Its Users Consume Journalism (N.Y. Times)

Facebook now has a fifth of the world — about 1.3 billion people — logging on at least monthly. It drives up to 20 percent of traffic to news sites, according to figures from the analytics company SimpleReach. On mobile devices, the fastest-growing source of readers, the percentage is even higher, SimpleReach says, and continues to increase.

Just as the music industry has moved largely from selling albums to songs bought instantly online, publishers are increasingly reaching readers through individual pieces rather than complete editions of newspapers or magazines. A publication’s home page, said Edward Kim, a co-founder of SimpleReach, will soon be important more as an advertisement of its brand than as a destination for readers.

“People won’t type in WashingtonPost.com anymore,” Ms. Haik said. “It’s search and social.”

YOUR SMARTPHONE IS GETTING SO SMART, YOU MAY NEVER NEED TO LOOK PAST THE HOME SCREEN (Fast Company)

With time, notifications will only get smarter, and the companies that best understand this new way of communicating with its users will bring us just the right amount of information at the right time.

The 60-second interview: Alice Dubois, director for editorial products, Buzzfeed (Capital)

Publish is absolutely core for Buzzfeed, and we are not inclined to put a core task in the hands of another company or an outside vendor.

If you’re using a generic, off-the-shelf CMS, those assumptions might not fit your organization’s particular needs, creating frustrating obstacles that users need to work around. With a custom-built CMS, we can make the structure and assumptions work to our advantage, letting people do their work better or faster or more easily.

That said, I don’t think that building your own CMS is a good idea if you don’t have any developers who are able to dedicate a good percentage of their time to working on the CMS. Building a proprietary CMS without developers to maintain, modify and improve it would be crazy. For lots of publishers, a customized version of WordPress is probably great!

CAPITAL: What’s next for the Buzzfeed CMS?

DUBOIS: So much! Some of the things on my mind are a new mobile preview, better .gif optimization, an image management tool, mobile editing and even mobile post creation, and, always, new formats.

Nate Silver’s model shows digital video winning for FiveThirtyEight (Digiday)

The Globe rolls out red carpet for documentary film (Poynter)

On Thursday, the paper announced GlobeDocs, a bid to celebrate the city’s nonfiction film scene. The initiative, headed up by Page, will include a series of free screenings (at least one every month) at independent theaters throughout Boston that will include panel discussions with filmmakers and industry experts. The paper is currently working to identify advertisers to sponsor the screenings, said Boston Globe CEO Mike Sheehan.

The changing face of technology journalism (Digiday)

Why publishers are flocking to explainer videos (Digiday)

From BuzzFeed to Business Insider, explainers have become a go-to gambit for digital publishers, offering to go beyond quick hit news stories and in the process produce content with a long shelf life.

“We sometimes don’t think about news as a service for people,” Melissa Bell, executive editor of Vox.com, told Digiday. “Some people only have a minute in line at Starbucks to learn about Ferguson. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be able to provide that information to them, and explanatory video is one effective way to do that.”

WTF are time-based metrics? (Digiday)

“It still remains to be seen that time is the best indicator for success, [that] an article that someone spends time with is necessarily better for the brand,” said Edward Kim, CEO of SimpleReach, which measures content performance. Kim believes time is a key measurement, but that pushing to adopt a new currency could cause confusion and slow the movement of dollars to native advertising.

Observers don’t see advertisers focusing on time metrics until they’re comfortable with viewability.

The New York Times Co. and Axel Springer are investing €3 million in Dutch startup Blendle (Nieman Lab)

The New York Times Company and German publisher Axel Springer are collectively investing €3 million ($3.7 million) in Blendle, a Dutch news startup where readers pay by the article, Blendle announced Sunday.

The Daily Scroll is a roundup of my favorite media reads Monday through Thursday. All excerpts are copied and pasted.

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