Facebook suspends Domain Insights, challenging new publishers

Sarah Homewood
By Sarah Homewood | 23 August 2016

Facebook has stopped new access to one of its data offerings, that allows publishers to see how their content performed inside its ecosystem.

Called Domain Insights, this tool gives basic information to website developers about how a site's externally hosted content is tracking when shared via Facebook, however Digiday is reporting that on the last day of June the social network stopped accepting new domain names to be tracked.

This is not an issue for current publishers using the service, rather new publishers who may be on the rise or who just haven't utilised the offering previously.

According to Digiday this is an issue, because it appears to be a play from Facebook to get publishers to publish their content directly to its ecosystem via its Instant Article offering.

Of the move there's been a mixed reaction, with one large digital publisher telling Digiday that “it's no big deal”, however one app founder told the publication: “Any website not already using Facebook [Domain] Insights is screwed.”

Domain Insights was previously part of a holy trinity of data insights that publishers could get from Facebook, with Domain Insights being paired with App Insights, which give information around content shared from apps inside Facebook, such as on Messenger; and Page Insights, which shows how content like Instant Articles or Facebook Videos does.

According to Digiday publishers will still have access to the later two information sources, however without Domain Insights publishers may struggle to actually understand who is sharing their content inside the site. Meaning that if new publishers want that kind of insight, their best option is probably to host their content inside Facebook, rather than externally.

That then brings up a lot of highly reported issues about publishers giving over their lifeblood of their businesses, their content, to Facebook where the social giant is able to monetise and distribute that content in a way that’s not always beneficial to publishers.

It is currently unclear if the offering will be reinstated.

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