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How to Thrive in a World Without Ads

Mike Mallazzo, Director of Marketing at Narrativ, recently wrote a post on Medium: "Life After Ads: The recent purchase of TIME should remind publishers of the power a strong brand can wield."

He discusses how some media companies are starting to question their total reliance on digital advertising. With Facebook and Google capturing the majority of revenue in the online advertising space, Mallazzo talks about how some companies are diversifying their revenue streams with models that depend on building loyalty and trust through subscriptions and commerce content in addition to just advertising. He writes:

"Media conglomerates have rediscovered the power of brand equity, offering the most plausible hope for sustainability since the proliferation of the internet."

At RebelMouse, however, we are still seeing digital advertising work. Our clients — such as Dance Magazine — are seeing huge success with digital advertising. But what if you were a media company in a world where traditional digital advertising didn't work at all? What would you do? How would you make money and continue to grow as a company?

The key is loyalty. You can't have a brand without loyalty.


One of our clients, the Italian newspaper La Verità, has seen tremendous growth using a paywall system combined with our proprietary CMS technology, which is specifically designed to engage readers and create loyalty. The stats reflect this growth in loyalty. In August 2018, their returning visitors increased by 74%, and new visitors increased by 115%! Using the infinite scroll design layout we call Social UX, La Verità is averaging 14 pages per visitor, far above industry standard.

Another client of ours, DiversityInc, has used our CMS technology to grow traffic and then capture B2B revenue behind a subscription paywall. This model works well because people want to be associated with the brand by virtue of what they stand for. In the past 30 days, they've seen returning visitors up 76% and new visitors 25%.

Mallazzo writes:

"Made popular by the likes of Wirecutter, GQ, and Buzzfeed, commerce content drives 3X more traffic to retailers than Google and hundreds of millions of monthly visits to Amazon. For all of Google's omnipresence, consumers still have more trust in media brands when it comes to recommending what to buy."

One of our clients, Refinery29, exemplifies this move towards commerce content, taking advantage of editorial trust to deliver a premium experience. Take, for example, their campaign with Dyson. You get great content such as " At Home Blowout Tips" while leveraging your brand power as an editorial team to generate real revenue by recommending the best products. Then, when you combine this with RebelMouse's Social UX design, you have an unbeatable combination for success in a post-ad world.

Part of building the trust that drives life in a post-advertising world involves having engaging conversations, and this involves a back-and-forth, a give-and-take. By thinking from a customer-centric perspective, brands can use customer stories to generate beautiful and engaging content that is authentic. This is why Mallazzo is spot-on when he says:

"Looking forward, the future of media most squarely belongs to brands like Allure and GQ that can take it one step further and succeed at becoming an extension of self."

It is that authenticity which drives connection and builds a legacy of trust and loyalty.

Ideally, each story you put out wins a search phrase that is valuable to you. At RebelMouse we have spent the past seven years developing our proprietary CMS platform to win at SEO and social to viralize content like no other creative agency in the world.

Part of our best practices is to think in terms of particles, not articles. These days it is the embedded tweet or the Instagram story that goes viral more so than the article itself. Our unique Particle Assembler technology combines optimal SEO structuring with beautiful and easy-to-use design to make the editorial flow streamlined with maximal results.

Mallazzo writes:

"The enduring power of the media brand provides hope that a model will arise to sustain an independent and profitable fourth estate."

We are seeing our clients embrace this philosophy successfully. Take Wonkette. They have no ads, but are thriving on a model based around loyalty and donations. People spend all day on the site because they have built a unique brand identity and used our platform to find the reach necessary for growth.

At RebelMouse, we know how to use deep technology to leverage this amazing resource for optimal results. But at the end of the day, it's up to brands to find the motivation to build a legacy of trust with their customers. It cannot be built in a day. But in a world without ads (or at least a world where ads are dominated by Facebook and Google), you have to start building sometime. Otherwise, you'll be left behind by savvy consumers looking for authenticity.

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A Look Inside the Only Creative Agency Powered by Deep Technology

Strategic development of product that supports content distribution, conversion, and loyalty.

RebelMouse is a creative agency fueled by a publishing platform with deep technology. Our expertise is rooted in media and content marketing because there is no other team that understands distributive publishing better than we do. There is also no other CMS on the market today that provides content creators with the tools they need to unlock sustainable growth backed by sticky monetization methods. RebelMouse blends product and strategy together to move the needle where it matters most — organic traffic and user growth, conversion to loyalty, and revenue growth.

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Let Your Audience Tell Your Brand’s Story

United Airlines' "Her Art Here" Campaign Blends Engagement With Purpose

The digital landscape has reached a turning point. Publishers are trying to pick up the pieces and figure out how to create quality content and monetize it now that readers have loosened up their dependency on the major platforms. In the meantime, massive audience hubs like Facebook are trying to recover legitimacy and relevancy with better prioritization of privacy and user experience.

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How to Leverage Annotations in Google Analytics

When looking at your website data in Google Analytics (GA), it can be difficult to remember exactly what happened on a particular day to determine why certain data spikes or dips may have occurred.

For this reason, it's important to keep track of when changes are made to your site. Thankfully, GA allows you to easily do this using annotations. Annotations are short notes you can add to dates within Google Analytics reports.

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Changing the Face of Tech: The Women of RebelMouse

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A Guide to User Permissions on RebelMouse

On our platform, user roles range from base-level contributors all the way up to administrators. These roles are especially important when operating within the confines of our community dashboard, which brings multiple creators together to create and share within one large content hub.

The way each role interacts with others is completely customizable. The workflow is designed to streamline the edit, revision, and publishing process to make sure live content is not only perfect, but always optimized for site, search, and social. The way each team sets up their role structure is typically dependent on the number of writers employed, the amount of content published, and the cadence of posts.

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RebelMouse Ad Integrations: Overview

Since the dawn of digital publishing, exactly how to make money on content has been a rocky road for publishers to navigate. The good news is that thanks to factors like user maturity, advancements in tech, and algorithms that deliver a new level of personalization, monetizing your site is easier than before. In previous years, it seemed like publishers were drowning in the revenue duopoly that is Facebook and Google, with little time to come up for air.

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RebelMouse Pageview Methodology

Throughout the evolution of media on the internet, there's been a constant struggle between design that provides the best monetization of articles and design that offers the best user experience. It's what has spurned the adoption of ad-blockers from the user perspective, and crazy 40-page slideshows on the publisher end.

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NEW: Styled Quotes Available in Entry Editor

At RebelMouse, we're always finding new ways to make dynamic content creation more intuitive, and this includes ensuring every article can easily be broken up into small, snackable pieces of content.

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How to Set Custom Fields for Every User

When you publish to RebelMouse, you don't just get access to a traditional CMS. You're also tapping into an online engagement platform designed to support communities. Building a creators network means your editorial team's content workflow has to operate seamlessly. And this clear path to publish is why clients on our platform can easily set up custom fields they want to show at a profile level for users in their community.

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