Hard as it is to believe, 2018 is now coming to an end, and it was a rollercoaster year for digital publishers. From dealing with the fallout of Facebook's dramatic Newsfeed changes, which resulted in significantly reduced reach for most, to navigating the complex path to GDPR compliance and the ensuing changes-- publishers faced several new challenges in 2018. And while a constantly shifting digital landscape can be hard to navigate, it also opens the door for new opportunities to evolve and grow. Throughout 2018 we saw publishers give alternative platforms a fresh look, leverage new technologies, and adapt their strategies in order to grow their audiences and businesses.
At Disqus, we strive to help publishers succeed in this ever-changing landscape by providing tools and strategies to drive engagement and develop stronger relationships between publishers and their readers. To wrap up the year and start 2019 on the right foot, we put together a quick summary of some of the most important updates and releases from Disqus in 2018. As always, much of our work responded to important feature and product requests, rolling out new features and improvements to help publishers build loyal audiences through engagement.
Reactions, one of our favorite releases of the year, provide a fun, low-effort, means for readers to engage on their favorite sites and for publishers to better understand their audiences. We aim to make engaging with publishers as easy as possible for readers. Anyone, whether they have a Disqus account or not, can react with just one click. Since launching in September, over 40k sites are now using Reactions. What's even more exciting for us is that those sites saw, on average, 5x more reader engagement after adopting reactions.
Reactions are available for all publishers on Disqus. So if you haven’t checked them out for your site yet, you can do so here.
Audience Analytics, the newest addition to Disqus’ reporting tools for publishers, offers unique insights into the size of your engaged audience and the individual community members that make up that audience. Developing effective strategies for increasing reader engagement shouldn’t be a trial and error process. Disqus helps you understand who your most loyal readers are, the impact of your engagement efforts, or see how your community is growing over time. Whether you’re an editor or audience development manager, we want to help clear the mystery behind different engagement hurdles so you can find answers quickly and be in the driver’s seat towards strengthening the relationship with your readers. Audience Analytics was released in February and is available for all publishers using Disqus’ Pro and Business plans.
WordPress Plugin Update
We know that WordPress is one of the most popular CMS platforms among Disqus publishers. We decided to overhaul our plugin to improve both the installation and admin experiences for publishers. The Disqus for WordPress 3 plugin is now available to download in the WordPress Plugin repository! 🎉 Version 3.0 introduces several notable improvements including improvements to Commenting Syncing, a new Automatic Installation feature, and a redesigned plugin settings page. In addition, we completely rewrote the plugin to utilize the latest WordPress APIs so that we can deliver you more frequent updates and new features in the future.
We started thinking about ways to increase shares for publishers in response to Facebook’s Newsfeed changes, so we updated the social sharing options within the Disqus comment embed to make it more visible. Since our launch, we’ve been monitoring the impact on sharing across our network of publisher sites, and we are excited to report that shares from readers and commenters are up over 200%! This means that more users are sharing more content on their social channels and in turn, publishers are getting additional visibility and distribution of their content.
Tips and Tutorials
Over the past year we have published several articles about growing engagement, moderating more effectively, navigating Facebook’s Newsfeed changes, and more. We know publishers need moderation tools that scale as they grow, so we designed our moderation tools specifically to help publishers efficiently manage large communities. To help, we put together 10 practical tips to help you get the most out of these tools, keep discussion quality high, and save time. Additionally, we have compiled 5 simple ways to interact with readers in the comments! Responding to readers helps to foster stronger relationships that keep readers engaged and coming back to your site. We incorporated some of our favorite examples for each tactic that showcase publishers who are pros at engaging with their audience. Check out the Disqus blog for more tips and tutorials for best practices.
2018 has been a year of many new updates and special feature releases that we are proud to report has made a huge impact for our publishers! As we start 2019, what are some potential new features you would like to see from Disqus? Share in the comments below!