The latest months at Boost the News were devoted to the question: how to help publishers make sure their content is widely distributed through a continuous period of time. Results were surprising.

In the last couple of months we have been testing Boost the News, with satisfying results. We had the opportunity to work with several leading European publishers, including Polish marketing portal Brief.pl, and bloggers from Israel, Nigeria, Poland, the U.K., and other countries.  Together, we aimed at answering the answer that most bothers publishers and bloggers: how to ensure long-lasting visibility and traffic of articles? 

At Boost the News, our goal is to help publishers to increase traffic by promoting articles through retargeted online ads. Tests were meant to assure the well-functioning of the system, from the moment of sharing an article, through the creation and launching of the ad campaign, up until the comparison between organic and promoted views.

Here is an example of how a tested ad appeared online. In this case, the ad promotes the article “Crucial lesson about marketing and community building” previously published on the Boost the News blog. The context in which the ad appears says a bit about the atmosphere in our office, but this is not the main point :)  

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Tests lasted from July till September, and results were overwhelming. The following are results of two tests during the month of September. The x axis counts the number of visits to the article on a given day; the green line stands for organic visits, the orange line for promoted (“boosted”visits):

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As you can see, the difference between the both lines is significant. In the upper graph, the number of promoted views almost triples the number of organic views (average promoted views per day 23, average organic views per day 8).

It looks even more impressive in the second graph, representing the test of an older post in a blog. Blogger outreach has become a major online marketing strategy in the last years, and many brands work with bloggers to promote their online visibility. However, the traffic of blog posts tends to drop drastically a while after the publication, when the post is archived. In this case, in many days there was no traffic whatsoever to the article. For a brand investing in such article, it is a pitiful situation: big money is spent on blogger outreach, and yet after a while the post is no longer frequented. Promoting the post, as can be seen in this case, allows the article to continue enjoying popularity for a much longer time. The average number of promoted visits in this case was more than 10 times higher than its organic parallel.

The drop in traffic of online articles is a widespread problem, typical of the era of content abundance. It is hard to maintain long-term interest in articles and blog posts, and the vast majority is doomed to be forgotten. Here is how the article’s traffic looks like, from the moment of publishing:

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Upon publishing, the article enjoys high popularity and is widely read. Shortly afterwards the article is already down from the blog/website’s main page and down the social media news feeds, and traffic drops drastically. What follows is a long period of silent disappearance, with chances of random spikes if the article gets shared on social media by the publisher. Our tests showed that the best time to promote the article is exactly when this period of disappearance arrives.

What differs a promotion campaign with Boost the News from other means of content promotion is its durability and stability. The second graph shows it perfectly:5

We see that on September 6 and 16 the blogger tried to lift the visibility of the article, probably by sharing it on social media, leading to a tiny spike in traffic. However, it quickly returns to normal, and the following day traffic drops again. The promotion campaign with Boost the News, in the opposite, maintains a regular level of higher traffic.

True enough, a campaign with Boost the News cannot bring millions of visitors to a website that usually suffers from very low-traffic. This is because it is based on the principle of retargeting: ads of the promoted article are shown to internet users who have previously visited the website, but not read this particular article. If a website has a total number of visitors of 1000, out of which 100 visitors read the article, Boost the News’s ad campaign will reach to the remaining 900 visitors. This introduces a limit to the number of readers that can be reached with a given ad, but nevertheless  targets a large range of potential new readers that, for some reason, missed the article.

We have been sharing these experiences and the knowledge we have gathered during tests on this blog, but not only. In the past months, we published on leading websites our insights about online advertising, content marketing, and blogger outreach. 

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