Independent.co.uk sees Facebook referrals grow 680%
Referrals from Facebook grew 680% comparing January and December of 2010, with referrals from Twitter also up 250%.
According to Jack Riley, Digital Media Editor, at the Indy much of that growth has been down to being one of the first big sites to integrate features like the Facebook Recommend and like button, which came in last year and took off like wildfire.
The Fecommend button shows what your friends are reading and sharing, and gives readers the ability to authenticate their commenting accounts through Facebook and Twitter via Disqus, which is also spreading quickly on a number of other sites.
Another nice touch is the paper has started to allow readers to get their news through social networks in categories that reflect their interests and the Independent’s breadth of output. For examples this means you can like individual writers in your news feed or if you’re a footie fan you can like its coverage of your particular team.
“To that end, you can now ‘like’ all of our commentators on Facebook, and if you do then when they publish a story it’ll appear in your news feed. So if you want to know what key writers such as Robert Fisk and Johann Hari are covering each week, just follow those links and click ‘like’. Commentator’s like buttons are, for now, confined to their author pages, which you can get to by clicking the names in the dropdown navigation visible when you hover over commentators on the Opinion section.
“We’ve also worked with UltraKnowledge, who for a long time have powered our excellent topic pages, to enable this feature for individual Premiership football clubs. So if you’re a Liverpool fan (and if so, commiserations) who wants to hear what our award-winning writers like James Lawton and Sam Wallace have to say about Kenny Dalglish’s (re)appointment, just click on your team on this page and click the Like button to receive updates.”
A lot of other sites are going to be looking with interest at what the Indy has done and following suit. Of course, others have done this as well, but it is nice to see some numbers to give an idea of the kind of impact that socialising news can have on your site.
It underscore for me that even papers pursuing a paywall need to stay open — unlike The Times which has taken an anti-social media approach to its paywall.