Everyone is buzzing about The New York Times Innovation Report and the headline grabbing news that shows a disturbing drop in traffic on the New York Times’ website. In the midst of all the particular details, one concept seems to stand out: social media has diminished the homepage. But while the scales are tipping, the homepage still remains an important tool for news media and brands alike.
At Quartz, Zachary Seward details that traffic to the Times homepage fell by half in the last two years, according to the Innovation Report. The New York Times has lost a jaw-dropping 80-million homepage visitors since 2011. Ouch!
Today, most news is disseminated via social media, eliminating the need to always visit a single homepage. Our friends and followers send us direct links to stories they think will be of interest to us, and so we never “go in the front door.” Also, a slew of social media apps have the ability to aggregate news from various sources in one place. Yet, for brands, the homepage is an essential medium to build and nurture current and prospective customers. Think about it: the New York Times still has 80 million readers consuming news on their website. The other 80 million are simply finding the same branded news on other channels. At the end of the day, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It just requires a new approach.
The typical brand marketing philosophy is to drive everything to your website. But the website only represents one channel out of many that reinforces your brand. So traffic should be shared among your entire marketing circle which includes social media platforms, mobile applications, as well as your website.
Be it social media, email, websites, searches, mobile applications, or even new interactive radio and television mediums, consumers are still interacting with your brand at every touch point. It’s a new way of thinking that requires a strategy that builds engagement at every step along the way. So, it’s not that anything is “dead,” it’s just changing. Homepages will continue to play a role as part of the whole marketing mix, but they’re just not as significant as they once were.
So it’s time to spruce up the side doors that your customers and prospects are walking through.