Why I’m Fascinated by UpWorthy’s Traffic Drop

Just last week, I recommended Upworthy’s slideshare presentation. It’s a smart, fun, and informative piece of content that outlines why the site has earned 90 million page views so far.

But, since Facebook’s December algorithm change, their traffic has dropped 46%.

That’s huge.

It’s possible for them to recover, as this author points out. But they’d have to go the Buzzfeed route and start paying Facebook to promote their content.

Facebook’s reason for the change? Decreasing memes. Like all content platforms, Facebook is trying to increase the quality of the content readers see.

Easier-to-read content means more engagement. More engagement means more click-throughs on sponsored content. And that, of course, leads to higher profits.

I’m interested in Facebook’s algorithm changes since it affects my content marketing work.

As someone who studied digital folklore at the graduate level, I’m fascinated by what these changes mean. Will people share memes as often if not as many friends see them? Is the reward for creating a meme likes and shares? If so, will fewer people take the time to make their own memes?

I’ll never know. Facebook doesn’t publish information like that, at least for memes you didn’t post. Maybe they’ll be an academic study someday showing how Facebook algorithm changes affect memes.

Until then, yes – I’ll keep sharing photos of my cats.