The beginning of the end of Facebook’s traffic engine.
NiemanLab Predictions for Journalism 2015 by Felix Salmon, senior editor of Fusion
Virtually every digital publisher has seen two big trends in recent years: Traffic is up sharply, and mobile traffic is up spectacularly, often overtaking the desktop web. In both cases, the cause can be distilled down to a single word: Facebook.
“The losers are going to be external websites who have become reliant on the Facebook traffic firehose. That traffic is going to start falling, in 2015, for the first time.”
But what Facebook giveth, Facebook can taketh away. (Just ask Zynga.) And 2015 is going to be the year that it starts doing exactly that.
Facebook has two natural constituencies: its advertisers and its users. It has no particular use for third-party publishers, except insofar as links to those publishers make its users happy, and keep them coming back for more such links. But Facebook is now a mobile company — most of its users are mobile, most of its revenue comes from mobile, and the proportions coming from the desktop are certain to continue to shrink. And in a mobile world, links to third-party websites are, to use a technical term, shit.