A survey released yesterday morning by Morning Consult found that 42 percent of American adults are getting their news through Facebook several times a day, compared to 20 percent who rely on traditional news sources, 15 percent from Google News and 12 percent from Twitter. This is especially true of younger Americans — 47 percent of people under 30 years of age and 52 percent between 30 and 44 rely on Facebook. The party breakdown is equally Democratic and Republican.
In another Morning Consult poll conducted last December, respondents were not especially concerned about fake news. Sixty-six percent said that it is the responsibility of the reader to determine whether a story is misinformation, but about the same number said that search engines should be able to pick out fake stories.
Why is this happening? According to ComScore, nearly 70 percent of time spent online is on mobile, and Facebook is the dominant player. The mainstream media companies have failed to penetrate the home screens of most users. The social platforms are strong here. For example, our own Steve Rubel said that he predominantly goes through Twitter to find news.
Edelman has been working with Newswhip to identify the publishers that have the greatest footprint on social platforms. Among the highest-ranked on Facebook are The Huffington Post, NBC and USA Today. We should be breaking news on these sites if we want to reach the younger demographic.
This also bears on the type of content that PR people should be producing. We can go direct to the end-user via social platforms if we are smart about paid content that is shareable. The content needs to be visual, short-form and emotional. Facts travel less well on social media.
A perfect example is the opening of the Kellogg’s store in Times Square, where the krispr communications team worked with journalists at outlets such as Business Insider, The New York Times and CNN to broadcast on Facebook Live just as the doors opened. The visual aspect and the personal connection to cereal made this a success.
With their impressive reach, social platforms have become the new front page.
Richard Edelman is president and CEO.