In the Golden Age of the Algorithm the networks have complete control over what you see.
The move to things like Facebook instant articles, and Google’s AMP pages mean that readers may never even reach your site.
Soon they will control all of the traffic, through their paid portals. Is it like AOL all over again?
They have been laying the groundwork for this. Facebook started increasing the mix of friends and family in newsfeeds. They knew this would provide a better experience. Companies were penalised.Their followers weren’t getting their updates. They asked people to make sure to “get notifications” – but no one bothers.
Brands were finding their audience was even less than they thought it was because Facebook was fibbing about the view numbers on videos. Also in Nov 2016, a bug in Facebook showed that organic reach was even STILL lower than that. Your organic reach counted on Facebook includes people who don’t view your entire post. Less than 5% of page fans see your content.
And no one is clicking! Did anyone ever click on Twitter? This article from 2011 complained about the widespread issue. And nothing has changed.
A natural reaction would be to increase your output. Michael Stelzner of Social Media Examiner says: Don’t. (The whole episode is great. #134: Preparing for Future Traffic Declines: What Content Creators Need to Know.) Now, he explained, Facebook penalizes companies that are trying to increase the volume of organic reach.
You have to pay to play!
Guardian argued that human “gatekeepers” still hold the key. They act as curators to trawl through the mediocre stew of information, and serve up delightful selections. Yet even now tools like Pinterest can predict what you want. Will you even need to do the curating yourself?
Pinterest uses “deep learning” to analyse the data you have already give it (the pins you pinned). And then it takes that to predict which pins you’ll most likely pin. And it can suggest the board you would like to pin it to.
Here’s an idea. Why doesn’t Pinterest just pin them for me and I’ll sit in front of my computer and watch a steady stream of digital crack cocaine?
Since brands will soon have to pay to play. It would reduce all of my entertainment down to a slow stream of advertisements. How grim.