Here's What Happened To BuzzFeed's Facebook Traffic, Which Seems To Be Tanking
BuzzFeed, a digital media company with 130 million monthly unique visitors, gets a lot of traffic from Facebook. But recently Facebook shares and likes seem to be drastically down for the company.
In March, BuzzFeed's article shares on Facebook exceeded 13 million, nearly 7 million more shares than its closest competitor, The Huffington Post, according to social-media data company News Whip. BuzzFeed pulled in 13 million Facebook shares in February 2013.
A closer look at the March numbers shows BuzzFeed smoked the competition. Nearly 3,000 BuzzFeed articles produced 20.7 million likes, 13.7 million comments, and 47.5 million interactions. The Huffington Post produced six times as many articles and got half of BuzzFeed's Facebook shares.
But in April, BuzzFeed's number of shares began to decline. That month, its articles were shared only 10 million times, down from 13 million the month before.
In May the number of Facebook shares plummeted to 5.9 million , falling below The Huffington Post. That's down 55% from March:
Here's another look at the decline in Facebook shares, from February 2014 through May 2014.
Business Insider/News Whip
Below are BuzzFeed's other Facebook metrics, which also nosedived in May. BuzzFeed produced slightly more articles in May than in March, but its likes dropped from 20 million to 13.3 million. Comments sank from 13 million to 6.1 million, and Facebook interaction went from nearly 50 million down to 25 million.
What happened to cause BuzzFeed's 55% decline in Facebook shares between March and May 2014?
It seems to be caused by a decrease in quizzes being produced by BuzzFeed's staff. Liam Corcoran, News Whip's social-media editor who created the Facebook-shares charts, says in January all 10 of BuzzFeed's most-shared stories were quizzes. In May, none of them were.
"The interesting thing to note from May is that BuzzFeed's top-performing stories contained way fewer interactive quizzes than previous months this year," he told Business Insider in an email. "We recorded BuzzFeed starting to have serious Facebook success with these brilliantly shareable quizzes in January, when all of their top 10 stories were quizzes. Quizzes like 'What State Do You Actually Belong In?' and 'What Career Should You Actually Have?' broke new sharing records in early 2014. In May, the quizzes dropped off from the most-shared-stories list."
He added: "It's important to emphasize that BuzzFeed remains a social powerhouse, with over 25 million total interactions in May. No other publisher, apart from The Huffington Post, has ever reached that figure."
Now BuzzFeed is back to producing one big quiz a day. A BuzzFeed representative said the company is keeping an eye on Facebook's traffic and pointed to some of its popular quizzes in June. In other words, BuzzFeed's Facebook shares have "normalized" after the temporary quiz craze.
Even though Facebook shares have declined, BuzzFeed's traffic has held steady for the past few months according to Quantcast, which directly measures the site.
Here are BuzzFeed's unique visitors for the past year.
More From Business Insider