The ever-growing threat of a simple algorithm change to Facebook or Google continues to loom over publishers, but Parse.ly’s latest traffic report has a few solutions to that issue. Aptly termed “The Authority Report,” Parse.ly’s report analyzed 8 billion page views for 1 million articles in its network for the months of April and May 2018. While Google and Facebook still dominate referrals for publishers, others like Flipboard and Pinterest are growing fast —and gaining an edge.
WNIP asked Jessica Elsey, Deputy Managing Editor, Flipboard, to outline how publishers can take advantage of Flipboard’s platform to increase referral traffic and deepen audience engagement. Here is her opinion piece, in her own words:
From its inception, Flipboard was created to support three key stakeholders – consumers, advertisers and publishers, and give them the best experience for their needs in a rapidly changing digital world. Featuring a user interface that is designed to replicate magazines, the Flipboard mobile app enables users to “flip” through articles in a digital and measurable environment. Readers also have the ability to create their own magazines tailored to their specific interests that can package content from a broad range of publications and perspectives.
Our goal is to support as many high-quality publishers as possible in the 196 countries where we operate. This includes local languages, including in German and French, where we recently launched localised topics for readers, and expanded the number of publishers present from the USA and UK, including new titles from Immediate Media and Future.
Key to Flipboard’s success is journalistic integrity, which is why we want to make it seamless for high quality publishers to join and benefit from the traffic we can drive to their content.
How publishers can join Flipboard
Getting your content onto Flipboard is easy, you just have to register. You will need to input an RSS feed, so that your content can be added to our algorithm, which feeds that content to our users. To be most effective, we’ve created a series of best practices, which include sorting your feeds by date, and why you should not re-use the same image in multiple stories. It is worth noting that, when readers click on articles behind paywalls, they will be directed to the publisher’s site but will not be able to access it without signing in. To maintain the high quality user experience, it’s advisable to focus your RSS feeds on any free content available to drive traffic.
Because we want to promote the best publishers, in October 2017, we launched the RED Bolt Program in the US, which is designed to help users gain access to the highest quality content. The RED Bolt is awarded to publishers already on the platform who demonstrate enhanced mobile experiences. To receive the RED Bolt, the Flipboard team will assess publishers’ sites based on the following criteria:
- Load Time: The first page’s content must be completely visible within two seconds from first http request arrival, on a modern LTE network on recent Android and iOS phones
- Page Elements: 100% of the first visible page must not show ads on the first screen on a modern Android and iOS phone. Elements should also load in their final intended position on the page; they should not move to accommodate any other elements
- Intrusive Ads: No popups, pop-unders, sticky windows or overlays
- No redirects: The page that’s loaded is the content page that the user was expecting to get. Similarly, we do not allow captive redirects (back means back)
The key benefit of being RED Bolt verified is that articles will be boosted on Flipboard, increasing traffic to your site. The RED Bolt will be rolling out across the UK and other international countries throughout 2018.
Driving traffic back to you
Independently verified as the fourth highest traffic driver for publishers on mobile and tablets, Flipboard is designed to offer content that engages readers and drives and drives high quality content to the publishers. We’re also now Ti Media’s fourth largest traffic referrer across its titles, and City A.M. can see up to 11 percent of its referrals from the platform. Publishers can see and monitor that traffic using their existing analytics tools, so you won’t need to make any additional investments.
The platform itself is also free for publishers to join as we monetise through native advertising in the app. Publishers that aren’t yet on Flipboard may already see traffic from us, as users can flip articles they find interesting onto the platform. Our aim is to improve on this traffic once you are a publisher partner.
Flipboard also offers social buttons to publishers, meaning readers on your site can post to their own feeds and magazines on the platform, driving more traffic back via other users.
One publisher that recently joined Flipboard was the UK’s Evening Standard. Jason Collie, Deputy Digital Editor said: “Having launched on Flipboard in the past few months, we’ve created 24 different magazines on the platform to showcase the different stories that consumers can read from the Evening Standard, covering news, sports and even our Homes and Property section. This has led to a strong boost in traffic overall, and we’re seeing particular benefits when breaking news stories appear on the platform. In these cases there is a significant traffic spike lasting hours, sometimes even surpassing other content distribution methods we use. And thanks to Flipboard’s global presence, we’re also gaining readers in other territories, such as India.”
Our goal is to enable readers to find and engage in the content that’s interesting and matters to them, so the more publishers we have the easier that goal is to achieve. In doing so, we can drive more traffic back to the publishers, helping them to grow their business too.
Jessica Elsey, Deputy Managing Editor, Flipboard [ @jeelsey ]