Digital Publishing Platforms
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Instagram shows publishers how an image speaks a thousand words

As a platform, Instagram might not be ideally suited to serve publishers’ digital needs. But they’ve still figured out how to make money on it.

In the past year, as their audiences on the platform have increased, scores of them have turned to tactics including product placement, Instagram star partnerships and even tools that help them sell from their comments sections.

And while many emphasize that they’re in the early stages, there are bright spots. For Barstool Sports, Instagram is now the biggest driver of sales for one of its top-selling lines of shirts. Goop, the Gwyneth Paltrow-founded site and store, says it’s gotten click-through rates over 80 percent on the platform. Health and wellness publisher Mindbodygreen’s branded content averages better engagement on Instagram than the content it publishes on its own site, and advertiser interest in such branded content has “exploded,” according to the site’s founder and CEO, Jason Wachob.

“We sit at the intersection of content, community and commerce,” Wachob said. “A lot of brands want to play in this space.”

During the first half of this year, Instagram quietly surpassed Twitter as the second-largest social media audience for magazine publishers, according to data compiled by the Association of Magazine Media.

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