If you publish content and no one shares it, does it even matter anymore? Not really. Shareaholic is a “content amplification platform” built around that idea. Launched in 2009, they’ve recently launched some new features for publishers and advertisers. Marketing manager Danny Wong filled me on some of the details.
Our revenue generating tools come in three forms at the moment: Promoted Content, Affiliate Links, and Post-Share Ads.These are all simple and easy ways to drive revenue which, fortunately, do not substitute other ad offerings. Instead, they supplement existing monetization opportunities. For example, anyone can insert Promoted Content while still running display ads. Our affiliate links don’t override existing affiliate set-ups. Instead, we append affiliate tracking codes to URLs that aren’t currently being monetized. Post-share ads are a neat opportunity to drive revenue from your most engaged readers because they’ve completed the action of sharing your article. This is especially engaging for readers that may already be blind to banner ads. Our revenue tools round out the logical Shareaholic experience for users. Originally, our tools aimed to help amplify and market your content (with Social Buttons that encouraged users to share your content, with Related Posts which surface relevant content recommendations to keep readers on-site longer, and with Analytics which allow publishers to gain valuable insights about their audience to, then, produce content that’ll consistently outperform.)
Who’s writing the native ads?
Advertisers. We provide specs around character limitations and image quality but, ultimately, they drive the creative. That said, we do provide guidance around best practices to ensure readers will actually appreciate the ad, publishers will feel it’s inline with their site’s brand, and advertisers get the ROI they deserve from the campaign. We also make it a point to reject campaigns that do not meet our quality standards to ensure the reader and publisher experiences are not compromised.
Many major publishers have become their own creative agencies. Are there outlets that are better served than others with your product?
For the longest time, we’ve catered to the well underserved market of independent publishers. These outlets benefit the most from our tools because they may not have massive marketing or sales teams. In fact, some publishers have built their business to suit their personal lifestyles, and they may not be experts in sourcing advertising deals or in promoting their content. Nonetheless, they have super strong and loyal readerships that brands would die to get in front of. Then there’s Shareaholic, a platform that bridges these formerly distant parties. This helps advertisers reach targeted audiences at scale (vs piecemeal) and publishers that want to monetize their content without the headache of account management, sales, etc.
I was at Advertising Week in NYC this month, where the topic was #AdvertisingisBroken. A lot of the focus was on social as a solution. What do you think about that? How does Shareaholic fix the problem?
At Shareaholic, we believe the solution ultimately comes from a strong emphasis on the symbiotic reader-publisher-advertiser relationship. With respect to user privacy, of course, we want to ensure ads that are offered are relevant, engaging and unobtrusive. That’s why our products work in a manner that does not detract from the reader experience — rather, it adds to it. At the end of the day, the most successful campaigns are ones that place value in the reader first, the publisher second, and the advertiser next.
I saw your “Definitive Guide to Related Content” do you have other handbooks/educational materials? Are you finding that most people still don’t know what you guys do?
To answer the first question: Yes. Our business has undergone a unique evolution and maintaining a strong identity throughout that lifetime has been an interesting challenge, but one we welcome. Unlike other startups that say they “pivot” because one model failed, we’ve found success with each major upgrade. For example, Shareaholic’s beginnings date back to an unassuming browser extension, which Founder and CEO Jay Meattle created to “scratch his own itch” because he loved the idea of sharing things he read or saw with friends and family, back when social share buttons were a rarity on websites. Soon, he found that bloggers were exclusively using the extension to promote content. Then came Share Buttons, our first publisher product, just as social media began gaining momentum among all age groups. As our tools became more and more popular, we began understanding publishers’ needs to grow their traffic and engage their audiences. So, then came Analytics. Related Content followed shortly afterwards. Over the past year, we recognized the glaring need our publishers had — to make money — which inspired our revenue generating tools.
You can follow them @Shareaholic.