Google-owned Chrome web browser’s ‘Articles for You’ content suggestion feature is driving over 2,100 percent more traffic to publisher websites.
The feature, seen when you open a new tab in Chrome, is quickly becoming one of the fastest growing sources of publisher traffic on the internet. So much so that the feature is driving almost as many mobile visits as Twitter.
Articles for You driving as many visits as Twitter
According to research by content intelligence company Chartbeat, the Chrome article suggestion feature launched in late 2016 by Google is now the fourth most prominent traffic referrer in the Chartbeat network of over 50,000 sites behind Google Search, Facebook and Twitter.
Chartbeat’s data scientists analyzed key traffic metrics over the past year and found Articles for You traffic grew a whopping 2,100 percent in 2017, driving 341 million visits per month to publishers using Chartbeat up from 15 million visits per month. The Chrome feature, also known as “Chrome Content Suggestions” appears on every single “new tab” page in the mobile Chrome Browser and accounts for about 12 percent of website visits on Android Chrome as per Chartbeat’s data for March 2018.
If you are looking for a new and meaningful traffic source for your own website, this feature of Chrome on both Android and iOS may be it. Unfortunately, content publishers don’t really know how stories displayed in the feature are selected. Neither Google nor Chrome has disclosed how articles are qualified for inclusion in the recommendations.
Could this be a reliable traffic source?
Screenshot of ‘Article for you’ recommendations.
Articles for You is an algorithm driven feature, but Chrome users do have some level of control over content it recommends to them. The feature takes a user’s browsing history and behavior from their past online activities and turns it into personalized article recommendations. However, it is still not yet clear exactly how, if at all, website owners and publishers can take advantage of this new Google traffic source.
Google typically documents policies on how content publishers can tap into to its more “traditional” traffic sources like Search or Google News, but it is mum in this case. Knowing Google's existing content guidelines, though, relevance, reliability and pageload speed could very well be factors for articles inclusion. There also appears to be a preference for articles (72 percent) that have adopted the AMP format in Articles for You suggestions.
Content writers, publishers and website owners may find it worthwhile to look out for this growing traffic source from Google, especially at this time when other major traffic sources and referrers like Facebook continue to alter their news feeds and limit publishers’ organic reach on the platforms.
“More deeply understanding Articles for You is one of the next things on Chartbeat’s research agenda,” John Saroff, CEO of Chartbeat, which is often used as an alternative to Google Analytics, said.