Rodale Inc., the Pennsylvania-based publisher behind such brands as Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Runner’s World and more joined Instant Articles to give its readers a faster and more immersive experience on mobile. After an initial test with Men’s Health, the company saw that in addition to an improved reading experience the platform created self-sustaining revenue streams on top of its existing print and digital properties. The company launched the rest of its six publications on Instant Articles and now employs a strategic combination of three methods of monetization.
We’ll take you through Rodale’s current strategy for monetization and describe how it can be applied to your own publication.
“CTRs are higher with direct sold ads on Instant Articles. The format provides a nice clean design environment, and we’re pleased with what we’ve seen in engagement and audience growth.” Diego Sanchez — Executive Director, Digital Programmatic and Strategic Partnerships
Rodale extended its direct-sold campaigns to include Instant Articles, leveraging the platform’s UX as part of an overall pitch to advertisers. Instant Articles are shown to focus a reader’s attention and drive higher engagement through its lightening quick load time and immersive design. The pitch of being part of Instant Articles, and benefitting from the increase in reader engagement, became part of the company’s overall run of network and run of site packages.
An added bonus is Facebook doesn’t charge to include direct-sold ads. As a result, Rodale focuses a majority of its monetization strategy on this method and keeps 100% of the revenue.
There’s no downside to selling ads directly, and we’ve recently added more customizable and premium ad formats to increase yield. Publishers keep 100% of the revenue and can use our automatic ad placement feature to make sure they maximize revenue while preserving a high-quality ads experience for the reader. Learn how to implement ads yourself using our technical documentation.
“Things we care about when adding a programmatic partner: Do they have a unique source of demand? Facebook Audience Network does. And can they help me sell mobile ads and better reach international audiences? The answer to both is yes.” Diego Sanchez — Executive Director, Digital Programmatic and Strategic Partnerships
Audience Network, Facebook’s programmatic solution for ad sales, taps into Facebook’s 4 million advertisers to automatically deliver relevant ads to users. Many publishers using Instant Articles rely entirely on Audience Network to monetize their content. Rodale, however, saw Audience Network as a great way to backfill their direct-sold campaigns.
When Rodale didn’t fill its given ad space with direct-sold ads, Audience Network made sure there would never be a lost opportunity for revenue. Audience Network ads are optimized to match the design of Instant Articles, load quickly, and bring people-based targeting from Facebook’s 4 million advertisers. It’s why Rodale refers to Audience Network as the “gravy” of its overall Instant Articles revenue strategy.
Publishers large and small use Audience Network. It’s a turnkey, all-in-one approach to monetizing articles that works well either for a small company without a sales team looking to monetize all its content, or a publisher with a direct-sales program that wants to maximize its ad space. Check out the Audience Network page and then look into implementing it yourself. And utilize our Automatic Ad Placement feature to get the most out of each article
“Advertisers are really interested in sponsoring our healthy lifestyle content, onsite or in Instant Articles. We find that our branded content even gets picked up by our syndication partners.” Diego Sanchez — Executive Director, Digital Programmatic and Strategic Partnerships
Whether it’s a workout regimen sponsored by SmartWater or Gore-Tex branded travel tips, the content of publications such as Men’s Health, Women’s Health or Runner’s World lends itself well to branded content. Rodale leveraged the fast load times and engagement possibilities of Instant Articles into more branded content stories. Each story was tagged with the sponsor to differentiate it from editorial. Men’s Health especially has taken advantage of this format and has even seen its branded articles get picked up by syndication partners and perform similar to editorial.
Create branded content-specific style templates using the style editor, and easily add a sponsor logo to the byline of an article. Explore how to implement Branded Content and how to access our Branded Content tools.