1. davidericfleck

    Promoted Discovery: A Preliminary Report Card

    Posted on December 19, 2012 by davidericfleck

    In October, to a limited number of publishers, Disqus introduced Promoted Discovery. We’re excited about it because it’s a way to grow our business while serving three core constituents of Disqus: readers, publishers and advertisers. We help readers find new discussions and stories. We give advertisers the opportunity to engage with this audience through promoted content. We share the resulting revenue with our publishers. All of this is delivered natively in the underutilized but highly engaged real estate of the discussion.

    At Disqus, we think of content discovery as a better way for people to find stuff worth talking about. Our world of online community and discussion is self-selecting and organized around common interests, lending itself naturally to discovery. Increasingly, online communities are the places people go to find new content as traditional social networks become less dynamic.  

    Our consideration of this part of our business has two key components. First, we know that Disqus users are different than the average Internet user. They are by definition in the conversation and more hungry for new content. In an analysis of organic discovery traffic, Disqus users viewed 56% more pages and spent 166% more time on site on average. Our audience leans forward and engages.   

    Second, by powering discussion on nearly two million websites we can serve both large and niche publisher sites in ways few others can.  Using a native advertising approach, we also reach the mobile web without disruption. And in turn, we help advertisers find their target audiences, wherever they consume content. We have reach that’s tough to beat.  

    Results To Date

    For Readers
    People that use Disqus are part of the Internet’s largest community of communities. No matter what their interests are and as their interests change, Disqus gives people the opportunity to find new communities, content and people. We see strong engagement in both organic (unpaid) and promoted content. This demonstrates that our mix of content complements the user experience and enhances the value readers and publishers get from Disqus.

    For Advertisers
    Most advertisers have traditionally had to trade audience quality for quantity. Our initial performance data shows that is no longer the case. In this subset of the Disqus reach, we serve over 5 billion ads per month across 1.5 billion monthly pageviews, with both numbers showing strong growth month-to-month, as we further expand the program. Our initial group of advertisers includes MTV, American Express, Citibank and Intel among others. Advertisers using Promoted Discovery to drive traffic to their sites see Disqus outperform similar traffic sources by factors of 2-3x in areas where it matters most: page consumption, time spent and numbers of comments and shares. But the number we’re most pleased with is our renewal rate: 94% of our initial advertisers have committed budget to us for 2013.

    For Publishers

    In the short time we’ve been at this, we’re pleased with what we’ve seen. 10,000 publishers are participating with more joining every day. And it’s a representative, broad spectrum of the web and Disqus itself.  This includes sites like Investopedia, Men’s Health, Bossip, New York Observer, and Smart Mom Style just to name a few. For our publishers, Promoted Discovery is an integrated way for them to recirculate traffic back to their site, provide relevant content recommendations and make money. They’re seeing increased flows of quality traffic and strong engagement in recommended content. Across all Disqus channels, we’re sending millions of referral site visits to publishers every week.image

    As we enhance the product and advertiser demand continues to increase we’ll be offering this to more publishers on a rolling basis. In the meantime, revenue payments to our initial publishers are being delivered in Q1.

    Getting to Scale

    The next phase of Promoted Discovery is about achieving scale in balance. Enhanced content targeting, broader publisher inventory and more control tools are all part of getting us there. We’ll ramp up in direct proportion to our ability to deliver success and a high quality experience for our readers, publishers and advertisers alike.

    Stay tuned for more news in this space from Disqus.

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