Reach New Audiences With RebelMouse’s SmartNews Integration

What Is SmartNews?

SmartNews was founded in Japan in 2012, and since launching in the U.S. in 2014, it has been referred to as the "most reliably growing external traffic referrer" out of the 3,000 or so sites tracked by Parse.ly. SmartNews is unique because its algorithm is focused on news discovery, presenting its users with a breadth of topics from a wide array of publishers. The fun of using SmartNews is getting the most important news updates each day mixed with interesting items to read that you likely won't find anywhere else. Recently, SmartNews has opened up their platform by offering publishers of all types a self-service interface. You can apply here: https://about.smartnews.com/en/publishers. If you're a publisher using RebelMouse, your application approval will be prioritized.

The SmartNews and RebelMouse Alliance

RebelMouse has partnered with SmartNews to help our clients gain access to their network and begin to drive their content to the SmartNews app. SmartNews only accepts content from approved publishers, so with RebelMouse, you're already on the right track to getting accepted.

Working alongside SmartNews, our team has created RSS Feeds that are compatible with SmartNews's feed specifications. RebelMouse clients can use our SmartNews feed template to accommodate feeds from any section on your site. You can find the feed generator in your dashboard by adding r/dashboard/feed_builder to your site's URL. For example:

https://yoursite.com/r/dashboard/feed_builder

Why SmartNews Matters

SmartNews is an awesome platform that is gaining in popularity in the U.S. This gives you great potential for a whole new readership that may not find your site in other ways. In addition, SmartNews offers multiple ways to monetize your site via their app. You can customize your RSS Feed to add advertisements as well as add sponsored links to your SmartNews posts.

RebelMouse's integration with SmartNews is seamless and very easy to set up out of the box. We also allow you to customize your feed, and our team of experts is able to help you along the way

How to Integrate With SmartNews

We have multiple ways for you to get your content to SmartNews. First, and most simple, is our prebuilt custom feeds that are generated specifically for SmartNews's specifications.

Default RSS Feed for SmartNews

Each RebelMouse site generates an RSS Feed that is compatible with SmartNews. You can access different feeds for your entire site or for individual section pages by appending the following to your site's URL:

  • /feeds_smartnews/feed.rss (This is a full feed.)
  • /feeds_smartnews/section-name.rss (This is a section-based feed.)

If you only want to send your politics section's content to SmartNews, you'd simply send this URL:

https://yoursite.com/feeds_smartnews/politics.rss

Another use case is perhaps you don't want to limit yourself to one section, but want to pick and choose the content you send to SmartNews. This is easy, too! Just create a section in RebelMouse called "SmartNews" and add that section name to the RSS Feed:

https://yoursite.com/feeds_smartnews/smartnews.rss

To be safe before you submit, you should also run your RSS Feed link through SmartNews's SmartFormat Validator. Paste the URL into the field and click Check. There shouldn't be any problems with the standard feed, but it's always nice to be sure. If you encounter any problems, let your account manager or the RebelMouse Support team know!

How to Build Custom Feeds for SmartNews

The RebelMouse dashboard has a custom Feed Builder that you can access by appending the following to your site's URL:

r/dashboard/feed_builder

SmartNews allows you to monetize your content with ads and sponsored links. The Feed Builder allows you to easily customize the feed to add your own advertising code. For customizing SmartNews for ads, there are a few specific details you'll need to add to our standard code. Here are the steps you'll need to follow:

Customizing Section RSS Feeds for Ads and Sponsored Links

Navigate to the custom Feed Builder located here:

https://yoursite.com/r/dashboard/feed_builder

Then, click the blue + button to create a new feed:

Next, give the feed a name, such as "smartnewssection." Copy the code below. You can also edit the code according to the next steps in a text editor prior to pasting if you prefer.

Note: At the end of this section, we list out specifically the pieces of the code that need to be manually edited.

If you wish to add ads to your feed, you will need to update the "snf:advertisement" tag content. Essentially, you need to update the ad tag with your ad script, and the ad content with the details of your ad (e.g., link, thumbnail, title). Below you can see an example and the requirements:

If you wish to add sponsored links to your SmartNews feed (SmartNews allows two sponsored links), you will need to update the "snf:sponsoredLink" tag content for your specific links. You need to add the link to your sponsored article, the title of the article, a thumbnail image (4:3 ratio, 320x240 px) and the name of the advertiser for the post. You can see the requirements below:

Note: Sponsored links don't necessarily have to be traditional sponsored links. If you don't have any partnerships running, you can use an affiliate link, or even link to your newsletter or podcast.

Once you have finished creating and editing your custom feed, click the Save button and that will store your feed in your dashboard. You will then need to generate the URL for the feed so that you can test it in SmartNews's SmartFormat Validator. To generate the URL, click the download icon in the Get Feed URL column:

Finally, go to the SmartFormat Validator and check if your feed passes for SmartNews. If it does, follow the steps below to get signed up. If it doesn't, check the errors that SmartNews reports, and check back in the feed editor to fix them. Again, if you can't get the feed to validate, please reach out to us for help.

Below is the general structure of the section version of the SmartNews RSS Feed. This feed is compatible out of the box and has the Google Analytics ID that has been entered into your stats dashboard. This feed does not include any ads or sponsored links, but rather contains placeholder text that needs to be updated according to the details above.

  • In order to use this feed, you will need to manually update several fields. The fields required to be updated are shown in bold. The fields are detailed in the list below, and you can see them highlighted in the sample/template code below.
    • description: print(content: "Description")
      • A brief description of the site (30 characters or less is recommended).
    • link: print(content: "Site URL"):
    • section: BREAKING_NEWS
      • Replace with the section name you want to send to SmartNews.
      • Note, this is specific to the Section RSS Feed.
    • snf__analytics: print(content: "SCRIPT TAG FOR YOUR ANALYTICS")
      • Add the JavaScript for your analytics tracker (e.g., Google Analytics, Parse.ly).
      • Note that this is only necessary if you have a custom setup. If you simply wish to track with Google Analytics, you can use this code:
      snf__analytics: print(content: "<script>(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){(i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o),m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m)})(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga');ga('create', 'UA-47479881-19');ga('require', 'displayfeatures');ga('set', 'referrer', 'http://www.smartnews.com/');ga('send', 'pageview', '{POSTURL}');</script>", replaceWithContent: [{find: "{POSTURL}", replace: POST_URL}])
      		
    • Note that you will need to replace the Google Analytics ID in the code snippet above with your own site's Google Analytics ID.
  • link: printAsAttribute(content: "http://times.smartnews.com/sponsored/article1.html")
    • Link to your selected sponsored post.
  • thumbnail: printAsAttribute(content: "http://times.smartnews.com/sponsored/image1.jpg")
    • Link to the sponsored post thumbnail.
  • title: printAsAttribute(content: "title")
    • Title of the sponsored post.
  • advertiser: printAsAttribute(content: "some advertiser")
    • Name of the advertiser, or sponsor, of the post.
  • snf__adcontent: print(content: "HTML FOR YOUR AD CONTENT")
    • Your advertisement's ad tag/JavaScript.

Customizable SmartNews RSS Section Template

{
  siteInfo(nameReplacer: {
    find: "__",
    replace: ":"
  }){ 
    title: siteField(field: TITLE)
    description: print(content: "Description")
    link: print(content: "Site URL")
    lastBuildDate: printNow(format: "ddd, DD MMM YYYY HH:mm:ss ZZ")
    xmlns__content: printAsAttribute(content: "http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/content/")
    xmlns__dc: printAsAttribute(content: "http://purl.org/dc/elements/1.1/")
    xmlns__media: printAsAttribute(content: "http://search.yahoo.com/mrss/")
    xmlns__snf: printAsAttribute(content: "http://www.smartnews.be/snf")
    snf__logo: nest{
      url: siteField(field: LOGO)
    }
  },
  item: postsBySection(filters: {
    section: BREAKING_NEWS
  }, nameReplacer:{
    find: "__",
    replace: ":"
  }){
    title: postField(field: HEADLINE)
    link: postField(field: POST_URL)
    content__encoded: concatPostFields(fields: [MEDIA_HTML, BODY])
    guid: postField(field: ID)
    description: postField(field: DESCRIPTION)
    pubDate: date(format: "ddd, DD MMM YYYY HH:mm:ss ZZ")
    category: postSectionList(field: TITLE, glue: ",")
    dc__creator: postAuthor{
      authorField(field: TITLE)
    }
    dc__language: print(content: "en")
    media__thumbnail: nest{
      url: postFieldAsAttribute(field: IMAGE300X300)
    }
    snf__analytics: print(content: "SCRIPT TAG FOR YOUR ANALYTICS")
    snf__advertisement: nest{
      snf__sponsoredLink: nest{
        link: printAsAttribute(content: "http://times.smartnews.com/sponsored/article1.html")
        thumbnail: printAsAttribute(content: "http://times.smartnews.com/sponsored/image1.jpg")
        title: printAsAttribute(content: "title")
        advertiser: printAsAttribute(content: "some advertiser")
      }
      
      nest{
        snf__sponsoredLink: nest{
          link: printAsAttribute(content: "http://times.smartnews.com/sponsored/article1.html")
          thumbnail: printAsAttribute(content: "http://times.smartnews.com/sponsored/image1.jpg")
          title: printAsAttribute(content: "title")
          advertiser: printAsAttribute(content: "some advertiser")
        }
      }
      snf__adcontent: print(content: "HTML FOR YOUR AD CONTENT")
    }
  }
}

Customizable SmartNews RSS Front Page Template


{
  siteInfo(nameReplacer: {
    find: "__",
    replace: ":"
  }){ 
    title: siteField(field: TITLE)
    description: print(content: "Description")
    link: print(content: "Site URL")
    lastBuildDate: printNow(format: "ddd, DD MMM YYYY HH:mm:ss ZZ")
    xmlns__content: printAsAttribute(content: "http://purl.org/rss/1.0/modules/content/")
    xmlns__dc: printAsAttribute(content: "http://purl.org/dc/elements/1.1/")
    xmlns__media: printAsAttribute(content: "http://search.yahoo.com/mrss/")
    xmlns__snf: printAsAttribute(content: "http://www.smartnews.be/snf")
    snf__logo: nest{
      url: siteField(field: LOGO)
    }
  },
item: postsOnFrontpage(nameReplacer:{
    find: "__",
    replace: ":"
  }){
    title: postField(field: HEADLINE)
    link: postField(field: POST_URL)
    content__encoded: concatPostFields(fields: [MEDIA_HTML, BODY])
    guid: postField(field: ID)
    description: postField(field: DESCRIPTION)
    pubDate: date(format: "ddd, DD MMM YYYY HH:mm:ss ZZ")
    category: postSectionList(field: TITLE, glue: ",")
    dc__creator: postAuthor{
      authorField(field: TITLE)
    }
    dc__language: print(content: "en")
    media__thumbnail: nest{
      url: postFieldAsAttribute(field: IMAGE300X300)
    }
    snf__analytics: print(content: "SCRIPT TAG FOR YOUR ANALYTICS")
    snf__advertisement: nest{
      snf__sponsoredLink: nest{
        link: printAsAttribute(content: "http://times.smartnews.com/sponsored/article1.html")
        thumbnail: printAsAttribute(content: "http://times.smartnews.com/sponsored/image1.jpg")
        title: printAsAttribute(content: "title")
        advertiser: printAsAttribute(content: "some advertiser")
      }
      
      nest{
        snf__sponsoredLink: nest{
          link: printAsAttribute(content: "http://times.smartnews.com/sponsored/article1.html")
          thumbnail: printAsAttribute(content: "http://times.smartnews.com/sponsored/image1.jpg")
          title: printAsAttribute(content: "title")
          advertiser: printAsAttribute(content: "some advertiser")
        }
      }
      snf__adcontent: print(content: "HTML FOR YOUR AD CONTENT")
    }
  }
}

You can perform all of these steps yourself to generate a custom feed with your ads and sponsored links. Of course, if you're not comfortable with this level of code, you can always contact your account manager or support@rebelmouse.com and we can provide you with assistance.

If you wish to have a feed that does not include ads or sponsored links, you will want to remove those sections from the feed.To remove ads, remove:

snf__adcontent: print(content: "HTML FOR YOUR AD CONTENT")

To remove sponsored links entirely and retain ads, remove the following code:

snf__advertisement: nest{
      snf__sponsoredLink: nest{
link: printAsAttribute(content: "http://times.smartnews.com/sponsored/article1.html")
thumbnail: printAsAttribute(content: "http://times.smartnews.com/sponsored/image1.jpg")
title: printAsAttribute(content: "title")
advertiser: printAsAttribute(content: "some advertiser")
      }
      
      nest{
        snf__sponsoredLink: nest{
link: printAsAttribute(content: "http://times.smartnews.com/sponsored/article1.html")
          thumbnail: printAsAttribute(content: "http://times.smartnews.com/sponsored/image1.jpg")
title: printAsAttribute(content: "title")
advertiser: printAsAttribute(content: "some advertiser")
        }
      }
      snf__adcontent: print(content: "HTML FOR YOUR AD CONTENT")
    }
  }
}

And replace it with:

snf__advertisement: nest{
      snf__adcontent: print(content: "HTML FOR YOUR AD CONTENT")
    }
  }
}

If you would like to remove ads and sponsored links altogether, remove the following code:


snf__advertisement: nest{
      snf__sponsoredLink: nest{
        link: printAsAttribute(content: "http://times.smartnews.com/sponsored/article1.html")
        thumbnail: printAsAttribute(content: "http://times.smartnews.com/sponsored/image1.jpg")
        title: printAsAttribute(content: "title")
        advertiser: printAsAttribute(content: "some advertiser")
      }
      
      nest{
        snf__sponsoredLink: nest{
          link: printAsAttribute(content: "http://times.smartnews.com/sponsored/article1.html")
          thumbnail: printAsAttribute(content: "http://times.smartnews.com/sponsored/image1.jpg")
          title: printAsAttribute(content: "title")
          advertiser: printAsAttribute(content: "some advertiser")
        }
      }
      snf__adcontent: print(content: "HTML FOR YOUR AD CONTENT")
    }

If you would like RebelMouse to help get you set up, there is a list of things that we will need you to provide us with:

  • Site description
  • Site URL
  • Section name (if using a section feed)
  • Analytics tracking code
    • This is only required if you have a custom setup. If you only need standard Google Analytics tracking, then this is covered.
  • Ad tag/script (optional)
  • Sponsored links (optional)
    • The actual link
    • Thumbnail image
    • Title
    • Advertiser/Sponsor name

Submit to SmartNews

When you have your RSS Feed set up the way you need it, or if you're just using the out-of-the-box feed, the next step is to sign up with SmartNews. Fortunately, this part of the puzzle is also pretty simple!

First off, you can learn more about what SmartNews offers to publishers, and when you're ready, head to their submission page to begin the sign-up process. Just fill out the forms, submit, and wait for them to get back to you.

Once you've submitted for approval, you can also reach out to us and let us know that you've submitted your site. We can sync with our partners at SmartNews and let them know that you're interested and try to help them prioritize your site. Again, if you have any questions about this process, email support@rebelmouse.com or talk to your account manager today.

Why RebelMouse Is the Best Content Marketing Platform

RebelMouse is a unique platform and company. The company was founded on the vision that media companies would need an always-modern solution to thrive in the new connected internet, and that brands would have to behave like new media companies and use the same platforms.

Keep reading... Show less

Why Premium Creative Agencies and CTOs Choose to Develop on RebelMouse vs. WordPress and Drupal

The Intersection of Design and Development: Where Your Clients Thrive

We started RebelMouse seven years ago knowing that there was a fundamental design flaw in the world of traditional CMSs: Every instance, on every platform, had to be updated independently. It's similar to an era when users had to manage their own Microsoft Exchange Server for email. The costs of managing, maintaining, and iterating on a CMS to keep it awesome and world class is typically a $10 million-a-year endeavor. But even then, these cost-prohibitive CMSs are still behind the times.

Keep reading... Show less

Native Multivariate Testing at Scale With RebelMouse

What Differentiates Our Approach

There are many popular tools that allow you to perform experiments and A/B tests on your users — primarily Google Chrome Experiments and Optimizely. But all of these solutions are JavaScript additions to your web page that sidestep the problem of old, outdated, and clumsy CMSs. These solutions work by calling on a third-party JavaScript library that rewrites a page after it's rendered. This approach adds extra page weight and creates strange user experiences due to having to wait for everything to load and be rewritten on the fly.

At RebelMouse, we've solved this in a very elegant way. At the core level of our platform, we can natively render different layouts and track the exact differences in performance when comparing a test to your other layouts.

Keep reading... Show less

Modern E-Commerce: Blur the Line Between Content and Design

Create Modular + Reusable Design Patterns on RebelMouse

Content saturation is an industry-wide problem, and the e-commerce space is no exception given that it's filled with big brands, small Etsy stores, and everyone in between all fighting for similar audiences. The best way to fight this symptom is to understand your audience and provide them with what they want.

Keep reading... Show less

Instagram-style E-commerce Features on RebelMouse

Revolutionizing e-commerce on RebelMouse

Whether you're a brand with a blog or a media company with a site, driving purchasing behavior and building an audience that uses your content to find things they love to buy is vital. We're very proud to have built out the same functionality that everyone is now used to on Instagram, with layovers on images that lead to products with attribution.

Keep reading... Show less

Building Premium Communities and User Journeys on RebelMouse

RebelMouse is much more than just a replacement for a traditional CMS. Our platform is a tremendous community-building experience. Today's social ecosystem has given us a seemingly limitless number of premium creators who understand how to create gorgeous and relevant content that drives the growth of their own audiences. These creators and influencers are either experts in certain topics, or heavily engaged in targeted content that drives their interests. They're not only consuming the content they're passionate about, but they're contributing to the conversation, too. The new role of the editor is not just to cover the most important topics and people around their expertise, but also to invite those preferred influencers into their community and get them to participate in creating premium content.

Keep reading... Show less

Dynamic Voting: Grow Traffic and Engagement Organically

Help your audience find its voice.

Creating quality content is no longer on marketers alone. We live in a universe of creators who are willing to not only consume content that resonates, but play a role in the creation, promotion, and conversations surrounding it.

Since the start of RebelMouse, we've been on a journey to create dynamic media that is easier for content creators to curate and amplify on social. It's why we've built an online engagement platform centered around the power of communities that thrive naturally in the digital ecosystem.

Keep reading... Show less

How to Monetize Your Website in Today’s Publishing Environment

In order to define distributive publishing, we have to ask the following question: If you have quality content, but nobody sees it, does it even exist? The answer is no, because your content needs to be supported in a way that lets it move seamlessly across all channels, especially site, search, and social. But let's take this question a step further: If you can't monetize your content to generate the support it needs, how do you create quality content in the first place?

Keep reading... Show less

Making Sense of PageSpeed Insights and Core Web Vitals

Page speed and Core Web Vitals are an important piece of the SEO puzzle. Having a quick load time and passing Core Web Vitals are important factors in Google's search ranking and results. But there are multiple ways of testing your speed and vitals, and it can get very confusing to try and understand the results since different measuring tools can result in different scores.

Keep reading... Show less

Reach New Revenue Heights With RebelMouse’s Boost Spot Placement

Authentic sponsored content piques user interest and yields high rewards

Monetization has to be multifaceted. Publishers must deliver a site experience that makes the user a top priority without sacrificing the ability to generate ad revenue. After all, readers are no longer going to put up with irritating ad experiences that slow down their consumption of content. And since publishers can't rely on a few viral moments to make ends meet, successful ad campaigns must feel genuine and produce consistent returns to be effective.

The need for smart, sticky monetization methods is nothing new, but publishers and marketers alike are starting to perfect the modern ad experience better than ever before. This success is due in part to the increased use of sponsored content.

Sponsored content is the creation of content for a brand by a publisher — whether it's an article, video, listicle, or any other dynamic media — that is paid for by the brand. But here's the key: Sponsored content, when done correctly, is a valuable content experience that retains the same voice and integrity of the brand that's sponsoring the placement. This seamless integration into the natural flow of content that the publisher normally creates makes it one of the most effective ways to build site revenue. In fact, 80% of readers believe authentic content is the main factor that will drive them to follow or engage with a brand.

Keep reading... Show less

RebelMouse Q2 2021 Platform Performance Updates

Q2 of 2021 was a big quarter for the open web. Google delayed their release of SEO ranking by CrUX report, and they changed their method for Lighthouse scoring drastically. Our team was a few steps ahead of these changes, and we were able to update our platform so sites in our network had little, if any, performance interruptions.

We invested over 1,592 hours into our platform in Q2 2021 alone, and all of the sites on our platform received the benefits of these updates. To break it down into large buckets, we invested in the following key areas:

  • 538 hours dedicated to new features
  • 725 hours dedicated to improving existing features
  • 329 hours dedicated to performance and infrastructure updates

Here are the major updates that we've added to the RebelMouse platform in Q2.

Keep reading... Show less
Subscribe to Our Newsletter