There is no clear connection between social media engagement and page views for news publishers, according to a new study.

Additionally, less than 1% of readers to news articles come from social media, according to research conducted by Memo.

Why we care. Using social media to increase your coverage doesn’t seem to bring as much benefit as before for news publishers. It’s also important to know that just because people engage on social media doesn’t necessarily mean they’re genuinely engaging with the news.

The study. In 2022, Memo conducted research comparing social engagement and article readership. Given the dynamic changes in the social landscape, Memo decided to revisit this study in 2024. The company analyzed 26,000 news articles published between January 20 and February 20, covering a wide range of topics and industries.

The results. Memo investigated the correlation coefficient between social engagement (total reactions, comments, and shares) and readership (unique visitors to news articles). To provide context, a perfect positive correlation is represented by 1, while 0 indicates no correlation. Across the various industries, Memo found that the correlation mostly ranged around or below 0.1. As explained by Memo”

  • “Across all the articles and topics we analyzed, we found no clear connection between social engagement and actual readers of the news.”

Exceptions. Among the categories studied, only three showed a tendency toward a low-end moderate correlation: Politics, Sports & Athletics, and Crises (for example, incidents like mass shootings and major brand crises).

What Memo is saying. Memo said in a statement:

  • “The social media landscape is shifting. Platforms are adjusting algorithms to de-prioritize news in an effort to combat the spread of misinformation.”
  • “While social media used to be seen as the pulse of consumer interest, comms teams today know that it’s not the end-all-be-all.”

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Deep dive. Read the study in full for more information.