The social content model has long been the same: publish enticing snippets of your content on social platforms, lure people to click, and drive traffic back to your site, where the money is to be made. And for a long time, this content model has worked. But lately, we're seeing an evolution in the move towards "distributed publishing," and Business Insider is the latest high profile company to experiment with it.
According to this WSJ article, instead of driving people back to the Business Insider website, some of the organization's content is being published directly to social sites like Twitter and Facebook. However, the Facebook and Twitter accounts come from a brand called "Insider," an offshoot of Business Insider. On Insider's Facebook page, for example, you can find a post that contains the entire text of an article, complete with images. Business Insider's Facebook page, on the other hand, continues to publish links that drive traffic back to their website.
On Twitter, Insider publishes video stories directly to the site, including this one, covering the migrant problem in Europe, or another that ranks the most dateable colleges according to Tinder.
Suddenly, Europe is dealing with a MASSIVE migrant crises. https://t.co/nfkPh4xmVM- INSIDER (@thisisinsider) September 2, 2015
Tinder says these colleges have the most dateable students. https://t.co/F0VOkpDjMj- INSIDER (@thisisinsider) September 1, 2015
Business Insider president Julie Hansen tells the WSJ that an Insider website will launch in 2016, but that the social launch is helping them define focus and coverage. The WSJ writes, "t's unclear if and how Business Insider plans to generate revenue from Insider's audience on social platforms, but it's likely it expects to partner with the owners of the platforms where it's publishing to share advertising revenue down the line."
Both LinkedIn and Facebook have recently launched services within the platform that publish complete content, without requiring the audience to click anywhere else. As the publishing model evolves, we're seeing more of this kind of catering to a user who is suspicious of click bait and content that asks her to jump through hoops to read all of it or watch all of it. The wisdom seems to say: if social is where your customers spend time, then social is where your content should be.
But will the monetization of that model benefit content creators, or are content creators giving in to the major social media giants? Time will tell, but what's for sure right now is that we're in the midst of a sea change, especially as we enter a golden era of uber-sensitive UX apps and platforms.