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The Reasons Why Indie Publishers Flourish on RebelMouse

We care about you. We care about you having a sustainable business.

And that means we care about everything — from revenue to traffic to how you can be sustainable long term. By using data across all our publishers, we can help you understand what's happening in the media world, how to leverage Facebook's algorithm changes, where your audience lives, and more. The digital landscape is constantly changing, and we are always studying its changes to help indie publishers break through the barriers of bureaucracy. Our goal is to give you an unfair advantage through badass tech that helps you understand how traffic distribution works. So you can get your voice heard. Loudly.

One of the best parts of living in the age of new media, and more importantly living within the social ecosystem, is that everyone has a chance to go viral. The chains surrounding public content that were once monopolized by corporations and agencies have now been put back into the hands of the users.


It's a thrill that helps new media darlings like Axios take off quickly and start competing in a space dominated by legacy giants like The Washington Post. It's why indie publishers have an actual chance to make a difference. An indie publisher is a website born without major backing from a larger publication or media group. At RebelMouse, we call them web properties instead of websites. It's a more encompassing way to define the many strategies publishers must master in 2017 — from social to search and back again.

An indie publisher doesn't always have to be born on the internet either. One of our favorite indie publishers is PAPER magazine, a leading name in the print publication industry that used RebelMouse to launch its web property. Since then, they've successfully traversed boundaries that once plagued print publications trying to find their way into the new media landscape.

The RebelMouse CMS is the #1 choice for indie publishers like PAPER because of our similar spirits. We're a team of traffic junkies that don't like to get bogged down by constricting roles and processes that hinder quick growth before and after launch.

Oftentimes when passionate teams are approaching a launch or re-platform, they are smothered by chains of command that can slow down the process and distract from product design and strategy.

We build fast websites that are secure and optimized for user experience. We're also a creative agency that works closely with our clients on content and social strategy, monetization, and audience development. We monitor your data closely — usually on a daily basis — to make sure your insights are pushing you forward on a path of growth and meaningful revenue.

Think of it as getting all the benefits of a traditional CMS and a creative agency without the unneeded hierarchy and corporate jargon. Here's how we do it.

Launch Faster and Better

At RebelMouse, we operate off of a lean tech methodology that launches sites in weeks, not months. And this speed doesn't compromise quality. The sites we launch are also super fast and intuitive for users. Our CMS fuels lightning-fast content, so you never have to worry about speed impacting its distribution — ever. It's how we helped create the two biggest new media companies to date: Axios and The Dodo.

There are a lot of factors that go into why we're so fast. Here are just some of them:

  • Page Speed: We prioritize every feature to help with page speed, so users are never waiting for your site to load.
  • Stability and Monitoring: From DevOps to SysOps teams, there's always a pair of eyeballs on your site watching graphs, charts, and trends, and applying optimizations to your site simultaneously.
  • Editorial Efficiency: We care about more than just page speed. We want your editorial + social teams to have the right tools in place for a seamless and enjoyable content creation experience.
  • Super-Fast Product Iterations: The acceleration of history is a real trend and it is very hard to keep up with. RebelMouse gives you the power of a $10-million-a-year team for a fraction of the cost to keep up with all the changes in the industry.
  • Data-Driven Product Cycle: Everything we release at RebelMouse is A/B tested for performance impact and how each version impacts page speed and user experience.
Access to a Massive Data Set: We power experiences across nearly every topic, industry, and company type. We then bring these insights back into the product to make your workflow and processes faster + more strategic.

Reduce Tech Debt

Even in 2017, new media companies still think they need to invest in an expensive tech team to launch a successful website. But websites aren't what they used to be. Now sites have to be dynamic and put content at the forefront in order to build sticky audiences and generate sustainable revenue.

We're able to provide the necessary lean tech for our clients, freeing them from expensive UX designers and heavy developer support. Our CMS gives you all the necessary tools to succeed in the digital world, without hiring a massive tech team to keep you abreast of constant updates and changes. We are iterative and change with the times. Plus, everyone who works at RebelMouse is as fast and fluid as our CMS. The result is an amazing team of people who have fallen in love with particular aspects of the media and content business. And we live all over the world, so someone is available to help 24/7, with anything from monetization practices to backend issues.

Leverage Our Expertise

Here's the catch. We're not just a CMS, but a creative agency that combines technical skills with artistic creativity. We offer various creative services to make sure your website is set up for social success, with content distribution tools built right into our platform. These include:

  • Facebook Instant Articles Configuration and Strategy
  • Newsletter Design and Customization
  • Ads Setup and Review
  • Content Design and Strategy
  • SEO Strategy

We are inspired by intuition and gut, but we check everything against data and are able to see what is working across a huge set of categories and verticals. It's a unique approach, and it works for the awesome brands and media companies we power.

If you're an indie publisher looking for a home, let's start working together and create something awesome today.

Browse some of our current indie properties:

Page Speed Is Crucial to Your Marketing Efforts

Most marketers don't prioritize page speed because they don't think it impacts their bottom line. However, page load has a direct impact on conversions and revenue.

Here's a very simple scenario, supported by industry data, to underscore why the way pages are built and powered is crucial for paid media initiatives and your overall business:

Let's say a paid media campaign drives 100,000 new visitors to a landing page that takes five seconds to load. Google says that 53% of mobile site visitors will leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load. So of the 100K mobile site visitors you paid to bring to the page, ~50K are leaving immediately due to poor page performance alone.

Some studies even show that bounce rate increases approximately 100% for every two-second delay. So, if site load jumps to seven seconds, you'll pretty much lose all of the visitors your paid strategies brought in.

A Poor Site Experience Costs More Than You Realize

Page load plays a huge part in customer dissatisfaction, too. Continuing on with our previous example, let's classify the ~50K that didn't abandon the page as dissatisfied due to poor page performance. As HubSpot points out, 79% of them are less likely to buy again from the same website. That's ~40K visitors never coming back to the site due to poor page speed. The loss is even greater when you consider how valuable returning visitors are: They represent up to 48% of all transactions and spend almost 2x more than new visitors, according to Business Insider.

Plus, people love to spread the word about a bad experience, probably more than a good one. 40% of visitors who had a bad experience with a website's performance would tell a friend or a family member. So of your 50K dissatisfied visitors, 20K are talking negatively about your brand. If they tell only one person each, that's an opportunity cost of another 20K potential site visitors and customers.

The main takeaway? Your paid media has to work much, much harder when you neglect to optimize your site for performance.

Owned and Paid Media Should Work Together for Better Efficiency

And speaking of site improvements to help the bottom line, marketers can't overlook the value of owned content (e.g., articles, reviews, social feeds, etc.) and its impact on overall traffic and lead generation strategies. Sites tend to see significant lift in audience reach and conversion when content is paired with commerce: For e-commerce companies, content can account for up to 69% of total organic traffic. And, even more compelling, conversion rates have been 6x higher for companies that adopt content marketing.

RebelMouse's CMS makes it easy for brands to systematically optimize page speed performance and organic reach, which allows paid media to be more efficient.

RebelMouse allows clients to easily manage website layouts and components at any time, ensuring sites remain fast and are rewarded by Google and Facebook. Our platform features proprietary SEO tools designed to help clients optimize organic search with every post and better align paid and organic search strategies for increased efficiency. Similarly, our platform also includes proprietary social tools to organically build community and growth, and our data helps clients spot winning organic trends that can inform paid social media.

RebelMouse Is a Partner That Can Guide You

When it comes to content marketing, it's important to be mindful of the relationship between owned, earned, and paid media — it will only help your teams engage and convert more audiences into customers and brand loyalists. At RebelMouse, we're proud of how we work with brands and our ability to provide the expertise, best practices, and modern technology that help teams become better content marketers. If you're a brand marketer, feel free to reach out to us to learn how RebelMouse can help you be more strategic and effective in your content marketing efforts.

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Target High-Value Users With Affinity Categories

Unlock valuable audience data and shape a new strategy

In today's landscape, quality content isn't enough — it's half the battle. Publishers need to produce shareable content backed by data to experience sustainable growth. At RebelMouse, we have a unique pageview methodology that provides an innovative user experience for every reader without sacrificing revenue and growth opportunities for publishers.

To do this, we track massive amounts of data across our platform through the use of custom-built Google Data Studio dashboards.

Click here to see the kind of growth our clients experience every day.

One of the best ways to discover more about your audience is by taking advantage of Affinity Categories. This feature breaks down audience demographics, including age, location, interests, and more. Affinity Categories are usually used to target audiences for ads, but we also use them to gain insights on what topics a site's visitors are interested in overall.

Normally, each category is listed out separately in Google Analytics. In the example shown above, our data experts split categories into separate levels to reveal different levels of audience depth. For instance, by splitting up the category News & Politics, we can better explore the detailed distribution of users interested in specific types of news:

  • News & Politics/Avid News Readers/Avid Political News Readers
  • News & Politics/Avid News Readers/Entertainment News Enthusiasts

From an editorial standpoint, this is useful because it allows publishers to determine and target varying levels of high-value users, improving the efficacy of a new content strategy or ad campaign.

If your site is already powered by RebelMouse, email support@rebelmouse.com to get a breakdown of your audience's Affinity Categories. If you aren't powered by RebelMouse yet, request a proposal today and start receiving the data you need to grow loyal followers at scale.

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Infinite Scroll: An Innovative + Intuitive UX

There is a common misconception that publishers have to sacrifice monetization and professional design to deliver a high-performing, quality user experience to its readers. But in today's modern publishing environment, websites can deliver an unobtrusive site experience that's intuitive, elegant, and prosperous.

To do this consistently, RebelMouse supports infinite scroll as part of our bigger design strategy called Social UX for Media. Much like the news feeds of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, infinite scroll provides an endless stream of articles to its readers so they never reach the "end" of your content.

Infinite scroll is an innovative approach, but it is also a widely adopted standard that has been endorsed and is supported officially by Google, Comscore, Nielsen, and many other industry giants. It's part of a new media strategy deployed by companies with massive valuations and the highest level of visibility in the U.S. market, including Axios, Vice, and The Verge.

In fact, RebelMouse built and launched news powerhouse Axios, now one of the biggest new media companies to date, with our Social UX for Media design featuring infinite scroll. It's still a core part of Axios' successful publishing strategy today. The feature has also been key to the growth of many other RebelMouse-powered properties, including La Verità, Dance Magazine, and United Airlines.

RebelMouse's Social UX for Media design, featuring infinite scroll on hub.united.com.

The primary reason infinite scroll is so successful is because it mimics user behavior in an innovative, yet familiar way, thanks to its similarity to social feeds. On mobile, expandable posts make it easy for users to read "before the jump" and quickly expand to the rest of the article with one click, rather than being taken to another article page. This is similar to when a user expands a caption on Instagram. It's these simple design details that bring massive growth to key stats like return visits and time on site.

Our page view methodology not only keeps the user experience intact, it also includes robust ad serving technology. We use industry standard rules for page views that require at least 50% of the screen space to change before it counts as a new page view. So whether you use Comscore or Nielsen to verify your site traffic, infinite scroll will not have a negative impact on your insights.

If you're interested in launching a site with our game-changing Social UX for Media design, request a proposal today and let's start working together. If your site is already powered by RebelMouse, and you have questions about infinite scroll, email support@rebelmouse.com.

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Particle Assembler: Ads in Slideshows Now Supported

You can now insert ads between slides in a slideshow!

Monetizing users' engagement and page views is pivotal to most digital businesses, and our Particle Assembler has been an invaluable tool in helping RebelMouse clients to insert native ads seamlessly into their content. Now we've taken this functionality one step further by introducing support for ads between slides in Assembler's slideshow layout.

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