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Six Months After Leaving Twitter, NPR Sees Minimal Website Traffic Decline.

After being labeled “state-affiliated media” and then “government-funded media” by Twitter shortly after Elon Musk took over the company, National Public Radio (NPR) ceased posting on the social media platform that has since been re-branded as X. Many other public media outlets followed NPR’s lead at the time.

Six months later, the move by NPR does not seem to have adversely affected traffic to its website and digital platforms. According to an NPR memo, traffic has dropped by only a single percentage point as a result of leaving the social site.

“The platform’s algorithm updates made it increasingly challenging to reach active users; you often saw a near-immediate drop-off in engagement after tweeting and users rarely left the platform,” the memo, which was acquired by Nieman Reports, says.

NPR’s main Twitter account had 8.7 million followers, while its politics account had nearly three million.

Nieman Reports says the NPR analysis confirms that the social networking platform was not worth the effort in terms of trying to attract viewers to digital properties.

University of Missouri news/talk KCUR Kansas City (89.3) followed NPR’s lead and stopped posting on Twitter in April. Audience Editor Gabe Rosenberg told Nieman Reports that Twitter “made up so little of our web traffic, such a marginal amount.”

NPR has since moved to Meta’s Threads platform, where it is among the most followed news accounts. The new platform delivers approximately 63,000 weekly website visits, which is nearly 40% of what Twitter provided.

The NPR memo said website visits from posts on Threads are not a priority, rather the network is “taking advantage of the expanded character limit to deliver news natively on-platform to grow audiences — with enough information for a reader to choose whether to click through.”

The change in platforms has also helped relieve staff fatigue, Engagement Team Editor Danielle Nett wrote in the memo. “That’s both due to the lower manual lift — and because the audience on Threads is seemingly more welcoming to publishers than on platforms like Twitter and Reddit, where snark and contrarianism reign.”

Even before the labeling by Musk and NPR’s decision to no longer post on the platform, Nett told Nieman Reports, “The quality of our engagement on the platform was also suffering.” She continued, “We were on average seeing fewer impressions and smaller reach on our tweets, despite keeping a similar publishing cadence. And I know this is anecdotal, but as someone looking at the account every day, spam replies were getting much more frequent — starting to overpower meaningful feedback and conversation from audiences.”

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1 Comment

Leon D
Leon D
Oct 16, 2023

When are people in radio going to learn that social media is a complete lie?

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