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Summer 2017: 5 Social Trends of the Season

Platforms, users + publishers have a need for speed.

The world of digital has gotten so much more complex. As social bleeds into sites and vice versa, the ecosystem between digital and real life has become even more intertwined. It's even impacting elections.

If there had to be one word to summarize this summer on social it would be speed. Platforms are getting better about delivering content in non-intrusive formats that load before you can blink. Websites are also following the trend of usability and personal experience more than ever. Gossip sites that once delivered articles oversaturated with ads now publish on Instant Articles.


At RebelMouse, clients like Axios are melding the fast + content-friendly social experience with their own site and newsletters. It's a refreshing need for speed that can only continue into the next year.

Here are five trends that marked the summer for us:


1. Twitter: Time to Get AMP’ed

Relay's Twitter referrals spiked once the Google AMP rollout on Twitter was completed.

This summer, Twitter's rollout to Google AMP was completed. Twitter's native app now uses Google AMP links exclusively, eliminating the platform's previous, slower mobile viewing pages. AMP articles load two times faster than other links returned from Google search — and now Twitter is reaping those swift load times too.

Relay Media, a strictly AMP-based platform, reports that since the switch to AMP, sessions have spiked from 4% in December 2016 to 20% in June 2017. They also found that since the shift to AMP, 10–15% of their AMP visits are not sourced from Google search, but rather from platforms like Twitter.

The dramatic shift to a faster-loading experience means that publishers who aren't publishing on AMP are missing out on vital traffic. If your brand or media company can't iterate on AMP pages to learn how to effectively send traffic to your full site, you are increasingly crippled. We can help you integrate Google AMP for your content and optimize the feature to its full potential.

2. Facebook: Fighting Fake News

Facebook's metadata is no longer customizable.

Nobody has felt the brunt of being immersed in our complex digital ecosystem more than Facebook. Now combatting the fake news fiasco of the 2016 election, Facebook is taking steps to make sure that fake news doesn't ever spread as quickly as it did this past year.

Facebook changed the rules this summer for media on its platform. Facebook's latest update eliminated the ability to change an article's metadata — in other words, you have to keep and use the Open Graph (OG) metadata and image that was set up when the post was originally written. It's a way to ensure that misleading or polarizing information isn't inserted into the metadata causing it to be shared and spread incorrectly.

This change means your CMS matters more than ever. Our Facebook meta data is customizable right from our platform's Entry Editor.

3. Facebook: Instant Article Improvements

Also this summer, Facebook prioritized enhancing its own fast-loading experience: Instant Articles. Despite having a bit of a rocky start, Facebook made meaningful tweaks for publishers to get the most out of the feature. There is now more ad flexibility for publishers, and the platform announced that it will start prioritizing faster-loading experiences in the feed.

At RebelMouse, we're reaping the benefits of these positive changes to Instant Articles with every publish. We have clients experiencing up to $25 CPM — and even $35 — on Instant Articles now. They're achieving those numbers not through a sales team, but rather with effective content on sites that are perfectly optimized for social — and this absolutely includes a seamless Instant Articles configuration. Across the board, we're seeing sites hold a healthy $5 CPM a day, and some even regularly come in at $10.

We can share our monetization secrets with you anytime. We are a creative agency that offers Facebook Instant Articles configuration, implementation, and strategy services.

4. Instagram: The Kingdom Is Real

The days of only uploading beautiful pictures of your brunch and hiking trips are long gone. What started as a simple, social photo-sharing app has turned into a daily staple in the lives of 400 million people. Instagram continues to shatter new benchmarks and establish its dominance in the age of social, with no signs of slowing down.

Instagram's success hasn't gone unnoticed. Influencers, advertisers, and brands are going all in, capitalizing on all the eyeballs using the platform as yet another means of monetization. Publishers are piling into Instagram video, too. 2017 has certainly been the year that businesses take notice of Instagram.

The best part of Instagram is that it can be easily managed, optimized, and, most importantly, monetized with a small and dedicated team. This summer, we identified a strategy on how to "do" Instagram.

In addition to our Instagram growth hacks that anyone can use, the RebelMouse CMS also makes finding and maintaining social connections on Instagram easy.

Our social amplification tools were built in the age of the influencer, not before. So they are constantly changing and adapting to the industry's current climate.

5. SEO: I’m Still Here

Even though it's become social media's world and we're merely along for the ride, SEO still has a very important part to play. In fact, the two work together. After all, it's an age-old question that's haunted digital marketers for years: Does social media impact search rankings? There's a varying degree of answers, but we've nailed down the details.

Social has changed every aspect of digital publishing. Still, you can leverage social to win in today's age of search. Search is now a space for solutions, rather than a place for discovery and exploration — those now all happen on social. But both need to work together and do so quickly. We've mastered the best ways to leverage social to improve your SEO in this free guide.

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Google Made Major Changes to Its Formula for Page Speed. Here’s What to Do About It in 2022.
Rebel Insights

Google Made Major Changes to Its Formula for Page Speed. Here’s What to Do About It in 2022.

Make sure your site is set up for success in 2022.

In the spring of 2020, Google let the world know that its Core Web Vitals would become the new benchmark for measuring a site's performance in its search results, known as the page experience update. Fast forward to more than a year later in August 2021 when, after much anticipation, Google's page experience update became official.

Since its rollout, developers have felt the impact of how their publishing platforms stack up against the new standard. Important decisions around the architecture of your site can now make or break your site's performance in the eyes of Google.

HTTP Archive, a tracking platform that crawls the web to identify trends and record historical patterns, has revealed how top content management systems (CMS) have weathered the page experience update through the creation of its Core Web Vitals Technology Report. RebelMouse consistently outperforms major CMS platforms on Google's most critical metrics since its rollout and into 2022:

Getting superior scores on Google's performance benchmarks isn't easy, either. The Ahrefs blog analyzed Core Web Vitals data from the Chrome User Experience Report (CrUX), which is data from actual Chrome users, to see how the web stacks up against Core Web Vitals. Their study found that only 33% of sites on the web are passing Core Web Vitals.

data from Ahrefs tracked on a line chart finds that shows only 33% of sites on the web pass Google's Core Web Vitals From Ahrefs.

Luckily, performing well on Core Web Vitals is possible with thoughtful, strategic changes to your site’s codebase. Here's what you need to know and how we can help.

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It's been a long and winding path, but in 2022 the subscription model continues its upward trajectory as a top revenue strategy for publishers of all sizes. The tug of war between platforms and publishers reached its peak in the last few years of the previous decade, leaving users desperate for a modern user experience that's clear of any clutter from the duopoly that is Google and Facebook. This is why intelligent paywall models are a top choice for users looking to consume content right from the source. When done correctly, the strategy can work for any type of media. The New York Times, a frequent showpiece example of the power of paywalls, is constantly reporting record-busting subscription numbers, with 7.6 million digital subscriptions in 2021.

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Is There an Optimal Article Length? Chartbeat’s Data on the Relationship Between Word Count and Engagement
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Is There an Optimal Article Length? Chartbeat’s Data on the Relationship Between Word Count and Engagement

This article was originally posted on the Chartbeat blog. Chartbeat’s real-time content analytics, historical dashboards, and optimization tools help the world’s leading media organizations understand, measure, and build business value from their content.

Publishers have always had to weigh the risks and rewards of quick news bulletins and deeply-reported longreads. Write too much and you might lose readers who are just looking for the facts. Write too little and you might cut the sections that turn those casual visitors into loyal readers.

While striking this balance is the responsibility of a good editor, one of our responsibilities is to uncover data and insights that make those decisions easier. It’s in that spirit that our Data Science team recently investigated the relationship between word count and engagement.

We sought to find out how Average Engaged Time changes as word count increases and how editorial teams can use this data to optimize their content. More on those findings below.

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It’s been more than two years since Google let the world know that its Core Web Vitals metrics are the new benchmark for measuring a site's performance in its search results. Developers have since felt the impact of how their publishing platforms stack up against the new standard. Important decisions around the architecture of your site can now make or break your site's performance in the eyes of Google.

Now, the definition of what makes up Core Web Vitals could change. A new responsiveness metric called Interaction to Next Paint (INP) may replace First Input Delay (FID). During Google’s I/O conference in May 2022, it was announced that the INP metric was still in its experimental phase. You can watch the announcement here:

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