Facebook’s Subscriber: Thousands of Journalists Are Using The Feature Now

Posted on Jan 26 2012 - 6:53am by Editorial Staff

Facebook has announced that thousands of journalists now use Facebook’s Subscribe feature, including 50 reporters from The New York Times and 90 from the Washington Post.  The feature launched four months back in a target to weaken Twitter’s look-alike subscribe feature. Subscriber has enabled mainly the journalist’s community of viewers and readers to get public updates more promptly in their news feeds without adding the journalist as a friend – simply they can subscribe them. With such a change, an average 320% increase in subscribers’ number since its launch in November 2011 – according to a sample of 25 journalists seen.

Content Breakdown

Based on the analysis Facebook conducted, here are some of the trends we’re seeing in the type of content journalists are producing on Facebook, as well as what content receives above-average feedback.

  • Questions and Input: 25% of posts contain a question to the reader (either rhetorical or soliciting input/reactions).
  • Links: 62% of posts contain a link (either to one of the journalist’s own stories, or to something else of interest). And when reporters include analysis with the links, those links receive 20% more referral clicks on average.
  • Call to Action: 30% of posts contain “promotional” language – “read my link,” “check out my interview with,” etc. Posts with a call to action receive 37% more engagement than an average post.
  • Photos: 12% of posts were photos. Posts with photos receive 50% more likes than posts without photos.
  • Videos: 13% of posts are videos (from the scene of reporting, or a behind-the-scenes look at the process of reporting a story).

What Works?

There are several types of content that seem to produce above-average feedback from subscribers:

  • Commentary and analysis on current events and breaking news receives 3x as many likes and 2x as many shares as the average post. Also, highlighting controversial stories on debatable subject matter can double the number of likes and shares the post receives.
  • Reader shout-outs can increase in feedback by as much as 4x. Also, asking for recommendations can lead to a 3x increase in comments above an average post.
  • In-depth analyses on global issues can yield a 1.5x increase in likes and 2.5x increase in shares.
  • Powerful photos can yield an increase of a 2x inengagement (likes, comments and shares). Also, behind-the-scenes photos resulted in up to a 4x increase in engagement (likes, comments, shares).
  • Humor in posts or a humorous picture can yield a 1.5x increase in likes and almost 5x increase in shares. Humor often shows the lighter and more personal side of the journalist, which is likely why it results in higher engagement.

(Image Source: Facebook)

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Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff at I2Mag is a team of subject experts led by Karan Chopra.