Parsl.ey has found Flipboard is the No. 5 traffic source for digital publications, behind only Google, Facebook, Twitter and (only just behind) Pinterest.
Flipboard is a news aggregator famous for its genre-defining app for 2010’s newly launched iPad. It looked like a magazine that had been thoroughly re-purposed for a touchscreen and its launch was well received. But over recent years it appears to have lost its way.
According to Digiday, between 6 and 7 percent of traffic to Another Magazine, part of Dazed Media, comes from Flipboard. On a strong day for U.K. finance publisher City A.M., Flipboard can account for between 10 and 11 percent of its traffic. Condé Nast Britain has even said the platform is starting to rival Twitter.
These aren’t Facebook referral traffic numbers, but the advantage for publishers is that Flipboard doesn’t require heavy-lifting. Flipboard simply takes the RSS feed, displays publisher content and directs traffic back to publishers’ sites, where they can monetize their traffic and keep the user data.
Last summer, Sam Robson, Time Inc. UK’s group audience development director told Digiday, “Referral numbers are solid and it’s essentially zero effort, which is really attractive. So many platforms need bespoke content. We’re not in a position where we can throw time and resource at something and just hope it makes money in the future.”
What’s the lesson here? For one, publishers need to keep an eye on traffic sources and look into strategic changes they can make to maximize strongly performing ones. As Poynter says, ‘Don’t count a good app out.’