FoxSports.com’s 88% Traffic Plunge an Ad Bellwether
Video ads may be more lucrative for publishers in the short-term, but content marketers paying those premiums may be interested in the cautionary tale that is FoxSports.com. It turns out, articles and other copy anchored eyeballs to the perhaps now “former” publishing behemoth.
The site is No. 40 in Alexa’s sports category rankings, below six variations of ESPN.com and just under MMAfighting.com, as of Monday night.
FROM A SOURCE:
Fox Sports Digital page views for August 19-Sept. 17: 16.7 million.
From May 27-June 25: 143.9 million.
— Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) September 17, 2017
Alexa lists Richard Deitsch’s site, SI.com, at No. 23.
Also on Monday, Matt Yoder writes for AwfulAnnouncing.com:
Earlier this year, the Fox Sports website made a controversial decision to entirely ditch the written word as part of a “pivot to video.” This decision to completely remake the mainstream sports website was part of the larger implosion at Fox Sports with the departure of Jamie Horowitz amidst some fairly serious allegations.
Horowitz also had a key role in the extreme makeover of the website, turning it from a source for news, opinion and analysis to little more than a highlight page for FS1’s variety of lightly-watched debate shows.
In the wake of the “new and improved” FoxSports.com, the reviews were universally negative. Many sports fans suddenly discovered there was no point in visiting the website when mostly all of its offerings were outdated or irrelevant.
And true to expectation, that has shown up in the first substantially reported numbers about the traffic to FoxSports.com. SI’s Richard Deitsch reports that traffic dropped an astounding 88 [percent] since the “pivot to video.” Their traffic has gone from over 143 million in a monthly period to just under 17 million.
Yoder notes that FoxSports.com’s traffic should be increasing beyond 143 million now, during football season. (Indeed on Alexa on Monday, football-specific sites ranked highly in the sports category — with Football.FantasySports.yahoo.com at No. 2 and NFL.com at No. 3.)
Content Marketing, Advertising, Where There’s Actual Content
Marketers may not consider it their job to ensure a site’s popularity with visitors, but it may be in their interest to ask as they pay for their preferred channels what the site’s other content includes. (As shown with recent Facebook and YouTube debacles regarding fake news and hate speech, this could even ensure brand safety.)
Yoder cites the most obvious consequence for brands:
What are those advertisers going to do once they realize all of the visitors are gone? With such a sharp decline, it’s hard to imagine this working out for the company in the long run.
What do you think, marketers?
Please respond in the comments section below.