Facebook traffic to news and media sites continues to fall

If you’ve noticed a drop in Facebook traffic this year, you’re not alone. Amid reports of declining referrals across the globe as well as the recent implementation of a news ban in Canada, we analyzed network-wide traffic to better understand this downward trend in each region.

Global Facebook traffic has declined significantly this year

In the first half of 2023, Facebook-referred traffic to sites in our network declined 40%, continuing a trend that started early last year. As a proportion of External traffic, the social network fell from almost 11% in January to 7% in June. As a result, Social traffic as a whole has fallen from 23% to 20% of External traffic.

Latin America and North America see sharpest declines

While all regions experienced a decline, some were more affected than others. Facebook traffic in Latin America declined 60% in the first half of the year, dropping from an average of 87.2 million weekly pageviews in January to an average of 34.5 million weekly pageviews in July. 

Facebook traffic to sites in North America dropped 46% while sites in Europe, the Middle East and Africa saw a 39% decline over the same period. In Asia Pacific, the decline in traffic was less pronounced, falling 29%.

Zooming in on Canada

On August 1, Meta announced that they would begin the process of ending news availability on Facebook in Canada. From January to June, pageviews from Facebook dropped 21%. From the week before to the week after Meta began removing news content, pageviews from Facebook to news sites in Canada plummeted 51%.

Related: When Australian media went dark on Facebook: A timeline and analysis

Key takeaways from the data

While there’s no doubt that traffic from Facebook to news and media sites is declining, the social network remains a significant referrer as well as an important hub for audience engagement. As we’ve noted in research with Tubular Labs, it’s not always about traveling a straight line from social to site. Offsite interactions often lead to increased brand affinity and future interactions on site. Here are a few more of the key takeaways from our latest analysis:

  • Global traffic from Facebook has been declining since the beginning of the year.
  • Latin American sites were particularly affected, seeing a 60% drop in pageviews.
  • After removing news from Facebook in Canada, pageviews from the referrer dropped 51%.
  • Even with a decline in traffic, Facebook is still the largest social referrer by far. Other platforms like Twitter and Instagram each drive less than 1% of total traffic, lagging far behind Facebook in referral volume.

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