When Evolve Media’s male lifestyle site CraveOnline relaunches Thursday with a new look and voice, it hopes to improve its advertising products by offering unique branding opportunities, native ads, a rich media unit and a strong mobile experience.
The refresh, which brought in launch sponsors Jack In The Box, Adidas and the National Highway Transportation Safety Board, comes as CraveOnline’s traffic has declined from 6.6 million uniques last June to 2.3 million uniques this June, according to comScore.
Before the revamp, CraveOnline.com was a hub repurposing content from the 14 other mid-tail sites in the CraveOnline Media family, like Gaming Revolution and movie site ComingSoon.net. It didn’t heavily feature its own original content.
The new site, however, will create content, with a reduced focus on traffic acquisition “gamesmanship” – fewer listicicles and top lists, said Schiller.
CraveOnline will target this content to its core readership: men aged 25–34 who fall into the “aspirational affluent” segment. While most men’s lifestyle sites focus on hipsters, bros or metrosexuals, CRO Geoff Schiller said CraveOnline will hit all three of those categories.
Along with this content comes new advertising opportunities. The redesigned homepage contains inventory to accommodate a native, in-feed unit for sponsored posts: “It’s important that our brands are featured directly alongside our editorial,” Schiller said. In mid-September, CraveOnline will add a mid-page, large-format unit.
Viewability is also a concern, and CraveOnline will begin testing for it shortly after launch. It plans to create adhesion units, which stick as the user scrolls down, in order to improve viewability for display, and it will also use Evolve Media’s video viewability suite.
CraveOnline’s resdesign comes amid Evolve Media‘s buying spree, as the publication network tries to build itself up to rival BuzzFeed or Vox. (Its five purchases in the past 16 months include pet-focused Dogtime Media, beauty site Total Beauty, AfterEllen.com and ad network Martini Media.)
Schiller said Evolve is on track to earn $100 million in revenue this year, despite having taken no investor money – unlike BuzzFeed, which earned a similar amount in 2014.