A digital media company called LittleThings publishes inspirational, uplifting stories targeted at American women. The website primarily garnered its following by targeting a female audience with their content distribution on Facebook.
RockYou Media, a millennial-focused entertainment and media company, purchased LittleThings on April 10, 2018. After Facebook decided it wanted more user posts and less publisher content in its news feed, LittleThings, a 4-year-old website that grew a following by sharing uplifting tales and videos on Facebook, shut down today, eliminating 100 jobs.
Although Facebook, with its billions of users, is not the only platform where publishers have grown audiences, LittleThings was more reliant on it than most and developed a near-artistic skill for navigating algorithm adjustments. It began by pushing out popular videos before switching to live video once Facebook chose to make that a top priority. Live viewing accounted for 75 percent of all LittleThings show views at one point.
But it wouldn’t last, and LittleThings isn’t the last social publisher to suffer this fate, either. Facebook continues to be a significant source of traffic for publishers, but over the past year, it has consistently reduced the volume of traffic it provides them.
When Facebook announced in January that it will prioritise user postings in an effort to increase engagement on the network, that was the death knell. Many viewed the shift to users as part of a flight to safety because Facebook has also been fighting off regulatory concerns and grappling with a PR crisis over its failure to stop the spread of propaganda and false news on the network.
LittleThings had additional challenges. It used programmatic advertising to build the majority of its clientele before shifting to more lucrative direct sales. Advertisers who were growing increasingly alarmed by the divisive news atmosphere found refuge in LittleThings’ encouraging stories, but there was a drawback as well.
There was nowhere else for LittleThings to turn while other publishers looked to Google and Twitter to make up for what they were losing from Facebook. According to Tibbits, LittleThings’ comScore traffic dropped from 58 million in May of last year to 40 million.