It’s the end of the website as we know it. According to Andrew Pemberton, Director of Furthr, the convergence of homeless media and ad blockers will render the concept of a homepage obsolete, as content ekes out more of a nomadic existence across social media.
“Media companies need to go where the audience is, and social media’s audience is vast,” he wrote in Marketing Magazine last month. “And people don’t really want to click out of the social media app they are using in their smartphone… But there is a problem with this new model. It’s commercial suicide for established media brands.”
For some time now, destination sites like BuzzFeed have been trying to formulate an idea of what their business might look like without a landing page. VICE, Conde Nast and their peers have embraced new platforms like Snapchat Discover, and the Washington Post is now a Facebook-first publisher. “Media companies can benefit by teaming up with these technology firms to create platform-specific content for the distribution channels with the largest audiences, potentially creating more engagement and revenue opportunities,” writes Associated Press strategy manager Francesco Marconi.
This week, Pemberton singled out Facebook’s Instant Articles as additional evidence that the website is on its way out: “Instant Articles means content you read on Facebook can now be hosted and monetised on the social media platform to end all social media platforms, without the need for users to ever click through to a website.”
Facebook began to explore the potential of on-site content last year, when it dusted off its little-used Notes function. This meant giving users Medium-style blogging options, and partnering with sites like BBC News and the New York Times, essentially giving content creators and consumers everything they needed in one place. Because if Zuckerberg and co. are good at one thing, it is ensuring you spend as much of your time as possible on Facebook.