Are Social Media Worth It for News Media? Explaining News Engagement on Tumblr and Digital Traffic of News Websites

Dam Hee Kim, Meera Desai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

News organizations, faced with financial challenges in transitioning to a digital era, have embraced social media to attract an audience. Little, however, is empirically known regarding which factors generate engagement on social media to drive traffic to dedicated news websites. To answer this question, digital traffic of top 50 news organizations and 230,375 posts made by 41 accounts of these organizations on a social media platform, Tumblr, were analyzed. The results suggest that both still and animated images in news posts can be helpful for engagement not just linearly but in a non-linear, exponential fashion while hashtags in news posts may also positively predict digital traffic to news websites. Nonetheless, having a link to news websites in posts does not increase engagement or digital traffic to news websites. The implications of results are discussed for news organizations’ digital strategies that not only engage but also inform audiences for better journalism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2-28
Number of pages27
JournalJMM International Journal on Media Management
Volume23
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Strategy and Management

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