Study reports on Facebook ads, Open Graph

According to a recent study from TBG Digital, Facebook engagement in the United States dropped 8 percent between the final quarter of 2011 and the first quarter of 2012, Mashable reports.

Researchers found that the drop in engagement correlates with an increase in the average amount of ads the site hosts - from four to seven on many pages. As such, TBG CEO Simon Mansell says that the rise offsets the clickthrough rate decline.

"If you isolate (the declining clickthrough rate) ... you could say it's a negative thing, but I think that's a bit of a red herring," Mansell told the news source.

Facebook's revenue stream also  recently got a boost from a 41 percent bump in the price to buy ads on the site worldwide.

The news source notes that Facebook's addition of social readers through Open Graph technology has made it more competitive with Twitter for driving traffic to news sites. Researchers discovered a 196 percent rise in clickthrough rates for news sites over the course of the study, and many popular sources have seen impressive boosts since Facebook's news app was integrated.

The Facebook Developer Blog notes that Open Graph displays articles from news sources such as The Washington Post or Yahoo! News on people's newsfeeds that their friends have read. Users can opt-in to a social news app to read the article themselves and also regulate who sees their activity.

Among the beneficiaries of Open Graph is Yahoo! News, which has seen a 600 percent increase in traffic coming from Facebook since it integrated Open Graph technology into its site.

The Independent has seen more than 1 million monthly active users connect their Facebook accounts to its social reader, which has even resulted in some older articles ranked as "most shared" or "most viewed" going viral due to increased engagement.

The Guardian's Facebook social app has been installed by almost 4 million people, generating about 1 million extra page impressions daily. It also managed to expand the demographics of its readership to the under-24 sector, which CEO of Guardian Media Group Andrew Miller said is "traditionally a very hard-to-reach demographic for news organizations," the blog explains.

Finally, The Washington Post's social reader companion has drawn more than 3.5 million active users, with 83 percent of its audience under 35 years of age.

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