As Social Traffic Plummets, What Will Fill The Gap? by Robert Rose, Chief Strategy Advisor, Content Marketing Institute

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One of the weirdest things about this year is the pronounced decline in social media participation. Some of it has to do with a certain multibillionaire making odd decisions about a particular platform. But something else is going on, too.

Similar web data (gathered into a chart by Axios) shows organic clicks to websites from Facebook and X (formerly Twitter) have collapsed – dropping to (in some cases) one-sixth of the levels seen just a year ago.

I’ve seen articles attributing most of this change to Meta and X actively discouraging people from posting news articles on their respective platforms.

But this steep social plunge involves more than news sites. Other data indicates a general decline in people posting and commenting on Facebook and Instagram.

And you don’t need formal research to see that there’s less business and marketing content on X (but we have that, too, as you can see in our latest B2B content marketing research). My experience at Content Marketing World convinced me.

For the last seven or eight years, I’d leave the keynote stage and see hundreds of tweets and images in my feed. This year – I counted about 20.

Still, social platforms aren’t dying. Facebook content consumption is up (though B2B marketers tell us they’re using it less than they did). Instagram Reels use is up. And TikTok continues to be a juggernaut in user engagement.

My conclusion: The gap between the number of people who create content on social media and those who only consume content on social media is widening. Put simply, social media is becoming just media.

It’s conference season as I write this, and publishers, event companies, software companies, and all manner of associations are evolving their in-person and digital event strategies.

Data shows the desire for in-person events is strong despite headwinds such as inflation, health concerns, and the ongoing recovery of the hospitality industry. Meanwhile, virtual and digital events are also growing. Our latest research shows sustained interest in webinars and digital events – webinars trailed only in-person events as the tactics that produced results.

The takeaway: People want to be social, and they want to consume newsy content in a social way. So, it makes sense to prioritize events.

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