Like it or not, Facebook and other big technology platforms loom large in the future of online publishing, thanks to their control of audiences and distribution. But that doesn’t mean publishers have to cede all control when they enter into platform partnerships.
In fact, publishers can leverage detailed analytics and audience insights provided by the platforms and refine their editorial strategies to build reach and engagement.
To that end, social analytics firm ShareThis introduced a new free toll that enables publishers to conduct A/B testing on content published on Facebook, in order to better understand what kinds of content are resonating with audiences and guide their content strategies accordingly.
The new tool, called Social A/B, offers streamlined testing and optimization techniques for headlines, images and introductory copy for content published on Facebook. The tool is linked to publishers’ Facebook pages, as well as Facebook Ads Manager.
It allows publishers to test content using their own audiences or lookalike audiences.
ShareThis also launched a new alert system that gives publishers real-time updates, so they know when a particular piece of content is “going viral.” That allows them to quickly ramp up promotion and distribution to sustain the momentum, as well as exploit new advertising opportunities.
Facebook is also wooing publishers with its own analytics offerings. Last month, for example, it introduced new tools for publishers using technology created by CrowdTangle Intelligence, a social media analytics outfit acquired by the company last year.
The tools allow publishers to track the performance of their content within different social media apps, including Facebook and Instagram, as well as non-Facebook properties like Twitter and Reddit.
Among other things, publishers can determine which social channels, accounts and types of content are producing the most engagement, which should help guide strategic decisions ranging from editorial planning to distribution and promotion.