Social Reader Apps Decline, Engagement Level Is Up

Facebook social reader apps have plummeted, but why? BuzzFeed posted today that popular publications such as The Washington Post, The Guardian UK and Daily Motion who have social reader apps are declining rapidly. For example, the Washington Post grew its social reader to nearly 18 million users last month and that number has tanked to 9.2 million today, according to AppData.com. The tool was getting more than 4 million daily users in the second week of April, but ended up almost at zero for the rest of the month—a mere 220,000 daily.

Social readers are advertised with slogans like “News travels fast on Washington Post Social Reader. Get articles from the Web’s best sources, instantly share the stories you read with your friends, and see what your friends are reading. Start spreading the news!” The issue here is that users feel like the are being tricked into sharing articles that they might not actually even care about in the first place.

“Second-Class” Content Drives Users Away

Many users think the apps are simply annoying, including John Hermann at BuzzFeed who wrote: “Social Readers always seemed a little too share-y, even for Facebook; they felt more like the kind of cold, descriptive, invisible and yet mandatory services we’re used to seeing from Google rather than genuinely new and useful tools for spreading information.” He continues on to say that the problem is that a lot of these articles are “second-class content” that friends didn’t really mean to share with each other.

Despite the sudden decline in social reader apps, engagement levels are up as Facebook adjusts its algorithms to display more relevant content to users. This makes it ever more important for Internet marketing companies to provide relevant, interesting content to consumers who will want to share this information. These changes to Facebook’s tools may be causing a decline in social reader apps, but the need for buzz-worthy social media marketing is always increasing.

What are some of the most useful types of content that Internet marketers can create on social media sites?

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