Media planners often haven’t heard of LittleThings, but once they see posts, they realize they’ve seen LittleThings articles in their Faceboook news feeds, Tibbits said. Then they become more receptive.
LittleThings creates content on behalf of brands or uses brand’s content if the tone fits. Over Mother’s Day, it ran a funny, warm video from Ford on its site as well as on social media that showed nonparent drivers taking a test drive with kids in the backseat.
“That sort of content naturally resonates with our readers, so we’re the perfect environment for advertisers to deploy branded content like that,” Tibbits said.
Because LittleThings’ focus on uplifting content creates what Tibbits called “the ultimate brand-safe environment,” it expects to see strong alignment with advertisers focused on “how to be positive and turn adversity into greatness.”
Two advertisers she’d like to see added to LittleThings’ list? Dove and LeanCuisine, whose branded content focuses on empowerment. She’d also like to have CPG advertisers create their own DIY content in LittleThings’ recipe and crafting section.
Sponsored content goes back to the roots of LittleThings. The publication started out as content marketing for PetFlow, an ecommerce brand that schedules regular deliveries of items like pet food. When the site started taking off, co-founder Joe Speiser spun it off. He remains involved in both companies.
As LittleThings brings on direct advertisers, it’s also looking ahead to the future to maintain and grow its 30+ million uniques. Distribution is highly data-driven. LittleThings runs its content through a proprietary algorithm before it posts, and that algorithm is adjusted every four to six weeks.
Like many viral sites, LittleThings focused on distribution first and content creation second. Now, it’s devoting resources and hiring staff to add more original content to its pipeline of posts.
While Facebook was largely responsible for LittleThings’ meteoric rise, that means it’s also uncomfortably dependent on the site for traffic, despite its “great relationship” with the platform, Tibbits said. One way it’s extended itself beyond social media is by licensing content to Yahoo and Huffington Post.
And just like the early digital media sites before it, the social media-driven publisher is not only looking to build direct sales, but also direct visitors. The true sign of brand-building, Tibbits said, is when visitors type in the URL the old-fashioned way.