December 29, 2010

Since integrating new social sharing tools into its website in April, The Washington Post has seen referrals from Facebook climb by 280 percent year-over-year.

The’s “Network News” tool displays stories “liked” or shared by your friends, according to Justin Osofsky, Facebook’s director of platform partnerships.

Osofsky reports the Post is one of several media companies benefiting from integration with Facebook. He notes Sporting News and have both seen increased Facebook referrals and reader engagement this year.

Reader engagement, not just raw page views, is one reason Facebook is evolving into a potential challenger to Google’s Web referral dominance. Many Web publishers are finding that while Google may generate more traffic, visitors from social networking sites are more “valuable.”

As Lois Beckett reported in October for the Nieman Journalism Lab, has been utilizing an in-depth calculation of metrics to measure reader engagement. The site includes in its calculations loyalty, interaction and length of visit among other elements.’s Chris Mears told Beckett that 20 percent of Google visitors are “engaged” compared to more than 33 percent of those coming from Facebook.

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