OTB’s Engage Feed
You many have noticed the array of images and links under the footer of post pages. Here's what it is.
At least one of you has noticed the array of images and links under the footer of post pages. It’s a platform called “Engage” that we’re trying out from one of our chief ad partners, Revcontent. A recent Forbes piece has details:
Engage.im helps media publishers that rely on social media grow their audiences by providing a publisher hosted platform distributed in the first truly open feed.
“Media publishers are increasingly dependent on social networks to share content and grow audiences, and they have been searching for ways to get back to a model where they own their content on their site and are able to grow micro communities around on their own media platforms. That is where the idea for Engage.im came from,” said John Lemp, the CEO of Revcontent and Engage.im. “With the recent Facebook changes and onslaught on the open web, Engage.im is a welcome option for media publishers looking to regain lost traffic.”
Engage.im essentially allows users to create a personalized web experience in an infinite scroll feed that promotes other content from that same publisher. The recirculation of the content increases the amount of time that users spend on their site, which increases revenue as a result.
“Traffic from Engage.im performs at 531 percent higher average time on site than social, resulting in a significantly improved user experience and better engagement with our content. We are seeing a 4-5X increase in engagement before personalization and up to 11X after users personalize their content. This is a major gamechanger for media publishers that care about their users,” said Dev Pragad, CEO of Newsweek Media Group.
The recirculation of the content through Engage.im is also designed in an intuitive and familiar way that social media users are accustomed to. There are emoji reactions like Exciting, Love, Interesting, Sad, Angry and Gross. And there are Commenting, Sharing and Bookmarking features built in. The technology also supports in-feed video, polls and native advertising integration options, all controlled directly by the publisher.
Engage.im was incubated at Revcontent over the past three years and was created using proprietary technology built in-house. “The same scalable delivery system and dynamic architecture were integrated into Engage.im,” added Lemp.
The feed needs to be tweaked—it’s currently showing links to pages that are nothing but placeholders for images. And the “infinite scroll” will get modified so that it’s shorter. Once it’s the way we want it, we’ll move it to above the footer and below the comments.
As frequently noted in these pages, running websites is rather expensive and generating revenue is quite difficult. Ad networks aren’t paying much and publishers have resorted to ever-more-intrusive and spammy ads. Readers have, quite naturally, responded by installing ad blockers, creating a vicious cycle.
I started OTB as a hobby and never intended to make money off it, although, mostly because of a celebrity gossip spinoff site that’s long defunct, managed to do so for a short span. The ongoing site revamp—it’s essentially done aside from a move to a much more powerful new server which should happen any day now—has cost several thousand dollars and the server alone costs as much as we’re bringing in from ads. We got rid of the spammiest ads during the revamp and are trying out others to see what works.
The Engage.im feed won’t bring any money on its own but it’s designed to keep casual readers on the site longer. You’ve likely noticed that a lot of news sites scan directly into a new article as you finish the one you started with. That’s impractical here since articles are followed by the discussion forum.