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3 New Year’s Resolutions for Social in 2018

We ended 2016 with the phrase "pivot to video." The dash to social video was so intense at the end of last year that some publishers cleaned house to make sure they were poised to meet the industry's latest demands. While not completely misguided, it's become clear now that the scramble to video was more in the interest of advertisers' pockets than users.


As we close out 2017, content saturation (which includes video) is suffocating publishers while Facebook and Google — the almighty duopoly — have a firm grip on digital ad revenue. Successful media companies and brands are struggling to meet revenue goals while the platforms are reaching new heights. As the state of digital media continues to puzzle publishers in what's left of 2017, it can be hard to strategize for next year with all the changes and updates these mega-platforms like to throw our way.

But the media world in 2018 is not as bleak as it sounds. The slow and steady prioritization of quality content and user experience has become increasingly clear. And with this clarity comes the need for every publisher to accept how content travels across platforms, and how this will continue to evolve in 2018. What's equally significant is understanding what's now the common consumption experience, and how to adjust your strategy to build traffic accordingly.

Resolution #1: Accept the New Facebook Standard and Adjust

In 2017, we wrote about how RebelMouse is immune to Facebook's pendulum.

This year Facebook begrudgingly stepped into the role of defining the standard for a fair content experience. Following the fallout from the fake news fiasco, the platform now holds publishers to new standards. What's even more interesting is that in the latter part of 2017, Facebook made it clear they would require publishers to have a website that is fast and streamlined. So if you want to take your traffic off the platform, Facebook's users must be sent to a desktop and mobile web experience that is clean, non-intrusive, and content-rich. This means no more video ads.

The platform's audience network grew tremendously this year as well, giving publishers data that fuels the best-performing programmatic ad network we've ever seen. And while there's still time for Facebook to monopolize this monetization, there's never been a more opportune moment for publisher-level revenue growth. But to fully realize these opportunities, your content strategy has to place value in the right areas. Understanding every Facebook update in the coming year will be crucial to your content's success.

Resolution #2: Prioritize Loyalty in 2018

Understanding customer data is vital as we transition into the new year. Living close to your data on Facebook Audience Insights, Google Analytics, and Instagram can unlock the corners of the social ecosystem where your audiences live.

When we made the confusing pivot to video around this time last year, engagement was the true metric to watch. Although engagement is still important, it's fleeting and doesn't guarantee return visits. In 2018, loyalty will be built with reach

However, you can't have just reach alone. Many current media properties have viral, heavily shared content that regularly appears in your social feeds. But can you easily name any of these publishers? Reach is only useful when it's leveraged to build loyalty and recognition.

Turning reach into loyalty and revenue comes not only from the understanding of data, but also putting value in social as the primary seed for every growth opportunity. Social isn't something a small team or even one person does for a larger editorial team. It's something every editor and writer should not only understand in 2018, but accept as their users' only instinctual way to fall in love with their content.

Resolution #3: Fix Your Corporate Blog

Blogs were the first way companies, both big and small, dipped their toe into the waters of the internet. But now they've become the Achilles' heel of the content marketing stack.

This owned property is key to content marketers being able to spread traffic across different platforms and create loyalty. But while Facebook, Instagram, Google, Snapchat, Twitter, and others are evolving into centralized platforms with massive updates that roll out every quarter, corporate blogs are stuck on an old paradigm.

This archaic standard was built before social, and it's a clunky strategy that will put an end to any kind of meaningful growth if you continue with it. Our publishing platform is modern and adapted to look, work, and feel like social. The editorial tools are super slick and linked to social so you can seamlessly publish to Instant Articles, Google AMP, Apple News, Twitter, Facebook, and more, all during the content creation process. Readers stay longer, read more, and share more. Having a user-friendly, personalized experience was a key differentiator in 2017, and publishers can expect that to continue over the next 12 months.

Making Changes in 2018

RebelMouse has seen explosive growth this year. We've found ourselves at the intersection where content, social, and product meet. In 2012, we went viral as a social aggregator, and then we saw success with our game-changing CMS that built new media darlings like Axios and The Dodo. Now we are a full-time creative media agency that powers websites and consults on content strategy, social growth, and effective site monetization.

2017 marks the first year we're offering these strategy services without the requirement of re-platforming your site. So if any of these 2018 resolutions seem out of your reach, you can still start optimizing your content before the ball drops in Times Square.

Happy New Year!

Publishers No Longer Have to Submit Their Site to Google News

Google's Publisher Center creates new opportunities for audience growth

Just before the start of the next decade, Google announced an important change to its Google News offering with the launch of Google Publisher Center. The new interface merges Google News Producer and Google News Publisher into one to streamline the partnership process for publishers.

Overall, the change should make it easier for publishers to manage their Google News settings, including updating themes, directing URLs to section pages, and configuring user permissions. Read the full list of features here.

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How to Find Work-Life Balance as a Remote Employee

Tips from our CEO on making the most of an office-free lifestyle

Working from home is becoming increasingly popular, with an estimated 66% of companies now allowing remote work and 16% operating completely office-free. RebelMouse is one of those fully remote companies, and over the years we've mastered how to stay close to each other despite being spread across more than a dozen countries. We believe working remotely is good for both our personal lives and our productivity. Read more about this here.

Still, working free from the shackles of an office environment doesn't mean every day is a dance party in your pajamas from 9 to 5. Working from home comes with its own set of challenges just like any other job.

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Inside RebelMouse’s Quality Assurance Operations

How We've Perfected Stress-Free Publishing

At RebelMouse, we like to refer to our enterprise publishing platform as "lean tech." Most publishers have a natural inclination to start doubling down on teams of developers who try to build unique experiences to help stand out above the noise. But they should actually be doing the opposite: Lean tech is the preferred way to cut through content saturation. By allowing RebelMouse to obsess over your product, content producers, editors, managers, and everyone in between can focus on creating quality content and taking advantage of opportunities to leverage distributive publishing strategies that create real revenue growth.

One of the major reasons we're able to maintain a lean tech environment is thanks to our approach to quality assurance (QA). We make updates to our platform daily to ensure our clients always have access to the most robust, high-performing, and secure version of our platform. Behind the scenes, this means having a solid QA structure that's efficient, creates less bugs, and catches the ones that do pop up before they go live. It's a system of checks and balances that's hard and costly to replicate on a custom CMS. Here's a glimpse into how it works.

Our Tech Stack Toolbox

  • Cucumber
  • Java
  • Junit
  • Maven
  • Selenium WebDriver
  • TeamCity
  • Zalenium (Selenium Grid)

Our Checks and Balances Workflow

Automated Regression Testing Cycle

The Lifecycle of a Product Update

When an update is first made to RebelMouse, TeamCity immediately triggers the start of automated tests to review integrity.

TeamCity Build

TeamCity Agent

The tests run in parallel on TeamCity's Build Agent. Next, Zalenium creates docker containers with browsers that matches the count of parallel threads. An Allure report is then generated from the test results, which shows the state of the application after the update.

Allure Report Pass

If a test doesn't complete successfully, the testing framework receives a video with a failed test and attaches it to the Allure report.

Allure Report Issue

Based on the report analysis, a QA specialist will create a "bug" ticket in our product management software to address the issue if needed. Then, information about the bug is immediately sent to the project manager and we begin the process of correcting the problem.

The media powerhouses we power can publish with confidence knowing that any product issues that arise are met with a tried-and-true process to fix the problem with little-to-no disturbance to their workflow. If you have any questions about this process, please email support@rebelmouse.com.

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