RebelMouse is a social-centric content platform developed by the former CTO of the Huffington Post. But it has done more for Paper than simply drive traffic from social channels.
Since onboarding the platform, clicks per visit jumped from 1.3 to between 2.5 and 5 clicks, because RebelMouse is much better at surfacing articles that readers want to see next. The mobile experience has improved, especially in image rendering, which is important, given Paper’s visual focus.
Although Paper likes bringing readers to its homepage, that’s no longer the main focus. “When we stopped thinking about things in the old way, and driving people directly to the site became less important, we became more popular,” Elliott said.
The publisher has grown its Instagram following from 30,000 to over 300,000 in less than two years. Elliott says the power of Instagram is not in advertising but in brand-building. Being in users’ Instagram feeds allows Paper Magazine to be top-of-mind for those users and gives them a behind-the-scenes peek into editorial.
For fashion- and nostalgia-focused content, it publishes on Tumblr, which drives a considerable amount of traffic to Paper Magazine. Next year, it will participate in Facebook Instant Articles and Apple News. It will also expand its presence in video, as it and many other publishers observe viewing and advertising dollars for video moving online.
“Our site is the most ‘pure’ way to view things, but we want to be where our audience is, “ Elliott said. “That’s in social, that’s in video, that’s in the magazine. Our audience wants us to be in all of those places. I’m not married to [a specific] distribution or worried about subscribers; I’m worried about reaching people with content that they love.”