Platform Updates

SmartNews Best Practices

SmartNews Best Practices

SmartNews is a free news aggregator app for iOS and Android devices. It allows for algorithm-driven content discovery and provides users with the ability to save stories for later reading.

RebelMouse offers an easy-to-use integration with SmartNews.

Signing Up for SmartNews

To get started with SmartNews, publishers need to apply through the SmartNews Partner Program. You’ll need to provide publisher information and, most importantly, a SmartNews-compliant feed that’s validated through the SmartFormat Validator.

The RebelMouse team can develop this custom feed based on the following information:

Custom Feed Requirements

  • Site Description
  • Logo
  • Ads and Sponsored Links
  • SmartNews Content Selection (which sections to filter, include, or if a dedicated “SmartNews” section is needed)
  • UA and GA4 IDs (already found in RebelMouse’s Third-Party Analytics dashboard, but it’s always good to double-check)

Site Description: SmartNews recommends having a short description of your site in less than 30 characters. This is optional.

Logo: SmartNews recommends having a 700x100 pixels logo in a PNG format. This is the logo shown at the top of your article. Here are some examples:

You need both a dark mode and a regular/light version of your logo, with an alpha channel (transparent background) recommended.

Ads and Sponsored Links

Ad Tag/Script: SmartNews allows inserting your own 300x250 pixels advertisement. Mobile banners (300x50 pixels) are not recommended.

Example Ad: GZERO Media’s Signal newsletter advertised at the bottom, right after the ”Recommended” module.

The ad will be placed at the bottom of the post.

For sponsored links, you can have up to two links. For this, the following must be added:

  • The link to your sponsored article (or a link to the landing page).
  • The title of the article.
  • A thumbnail image (4:3 ratio, 320x240 pixels) and the name of the advertiser for the post.

Example Links

All sponsored links appear before the "Recommended" module.

Choosing Which Content Shows up on SmartNews

Publishers can forward everything they publish on their site or filter a subset of articles they deem appropriate for SmartNews. For example, clients can exclude sponsored sections in addition to private sections from their SmartNews feed. A more flexible option is to create a section called "SmartNews," and there are at least three reasons to have this dedicated section:

  • Greater control over which content shows up on SmartNews. Editors and writers can manually assign an article to this section.
  • In case there are too many sections (and subsections) to be filtered out.
  • To make editorial choices about what gets published to SmartNews, or if something unique needs to be applied to SmartNews articles.

Tracking SmartNews Referral Traffic

We track SmartNews referral traffic in Google Analytics (GA), and easily support tracking for both current GA (Universal Analytics) and the latest GA (GA4). Including these in the analytics tracking code should be straightforward, provided that we have the right IDs in our Third-Party Analytics dashboard, which can be found by navigating to the following in your browser’s URL bar:

{your site domain}/core/dashboard/stats/thirdparty

If you have any questions about SmartNews best practices, talk to your account manager or email today.


Want to know more about SmartNews? Here are some frequently asked questions about the format.

Can I Monetize on SmartNews?

Definitely! There are two ways to monetize SmartNews.

First, leverage sponsored links and ads. Make sure to include these as part of your custom feed.

Second, display your own ads by enabling SmartView. Readers usually see the regular mobile view of your website within the SmartNews app. SmartView, which is SmartNews’ equivalent to Google AMP, loads a fast, clutter-free reading experience.

Click here for more information.

Can I Use Rich Media or Embed Third-Party Content on SmartNews?

Sure, you can. Incorporate video, audio, and other media into content and leverage SmartNews’ autoplay feature to capture more views. As of today, SmartNews supports popular tools such as YouTube, JW Player, Spotify, and SoundCloud.

Click here for more information.

How Can I Monitor Traffic Performance on SmartNews?

SmartNews’ SmartView offers native analytics tools that allow you to monitor the performance of your publisher account. Use these tools to get an understanding of which pieces of content are successful and which can be improved.

In addition to SmartNews’ native tools, Google Analytics records referral traffic from SmartNews. Here’s how to see that data.

  • For Google Analytics 3 (Universal Analytics), click on the Acquisition menu, navigate to All Traffic, and then Source/Medium.
  • For Google Analytics 4 (GA4), click on the Reports menu, then Acquisition, and finally Traffic Acquisition. Scroll down to the table and filter by Session Source/Medium.

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