Bored Panda rains over Facebook algorithms

One of the earliest members of Hub Vilnius – Bored Panda, Lithuanian startup – has grown over the last four years into the most popular content page on Facebook. Congrats to Tomas Banišauskas and his team!

Wired, New York Times and other online tech media have noticed. Here is an excerpt from the latest article on Bored Panda in Wired:

FOR A YEAR or two in the early 2010s, a certain genre of cheesy, irresistibly uplifting headline was unavoidable on Facebook. You know the trope – someone died in an inspiring way, a potentially bad situation led to an unlikely friendship, a dog saved someone’s life. Followed, almost always, by “You’ll never believe what happened next.”

It was a sure bet to make content go viral, and traffic-hungry publishers flooded Facebook with curiosity-gap headlines. A host of sites dedicated to churning out viral clickbait—Viralnova, Distractify, Diply, Upworthy—flourished.

You’ll definitely believe what happened next. The format quickly devolved into a cringe-inducing punchline. In response, Facebook tweaked the algorithm that determines which stories appear in its News Feed, and traffic to most viral publishers plummeted. Some sold, others changed strategies, others folded. Now, the easiest way to go viral on Facebook is with political news designed to provoke outrage and fear.

That is, unless you are the one viral publisher that has defied the algorithm and thrived. Against all odds, Bored Panda, a blog started by a Lithuanian photographer in 2009, remains among the top publishers on Facebook. As its competition has faded, Bored Panda’s growth has accelerated. In October, Bored Panda says it hit 116 million unique visitors, up from an average of 17 million per month last year. The company pays to promote some stories, though it attributes much of the recent growth to organic traffic.

Much of that traffic comes through Facebook, where Bored Panda’s October posts on average generated more likes, shares, and other reactions than any other English-language news site, according to NewsWhip, a news analytics provider. Bored Panda had more than three times as many engagements per post as its closest competitor, conservative news site Daily Wire. In total engagements, Bored Panda ranked second only to Foxnews.com, and ahead of major news organizations like NBC, the Daily Mail, the New York Times, and CNN. Continue to the original post.

Article on Bored Panda in NYT.

Tomas is sharing his story in one of our events – Hub Camp back in 2014:

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