About com thoughts

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  • 1. Some thoughts on the opportunity
  • 2. The more I think about this, the more excited Iget about this opportunity I like to write things down as a way tostructure my thoughts on a subject These are hypotheses based on limited data This is far from comprehensive. At best, its astarting pointBefore I begin
  • 3. The Situation (as best I see it) IAC buys About Group Good fit with IAC strategy & portfolio Great traffic, good content, antiquated design Price: $300M 4.0x $75M Revenue (source: NYT 10K *) 12.6x $13M Operating Profit Feels high for a stable (shrinking? **) business New senior management What does IAC expect? Dramatic improvement in top and/or bottom line? Big synergies (e.g., with Ask.com)? ???* Forbes claims $25M Revenue, $10M Op Profit, unclear how to reconcile with 10K. Lower values only increase urgency.** Due to Google algorithm changes
  • 4. Possible Plan A 100 day agenda of quick hits Easy to implement design changes Focus on boosting traffic and engagement KPIs Follow with Growth-supporting features Mobile optimization Review of cost structure Long term strategic objectives Rebranding About.com Synergies with Ask.com and other IAC properties ???
  • 5. How I View the Revenue SideKPI TimingTraffic 100M UV/month Near/Mid/Long2.8 Visits/user* Near/MidEngagement 63% Bounce rate ** Near term2.3 PV/visit** Near termMonetization 2 Ads/page **** Near term??% inventory sold Mid/Long$1-$5 CPM *** Mid/LongTBD Mid/LongIntegration Clicks to Ask.com? Mid/LongUGC to Ask.com? Mid/LongTBD TBD* Derived from 100M UV, 650 PV, & PV/user ** Source: Alexa*** Range due to conflicting revenue data **** Excluding AdWords
  • 6. How I View the Cost SideKPI TimingSEO/SEM CPC Near termEditorial Cost per article Mid termOverhead (varies) Mid termNote: I did a lot of re-org and restructuring work at Booz & Cobut its hard to discuss without data
  • 7. Tactical Examples(Revenue side only)
  • 8. TrafficDirect Branding: what does it take for a user to make About.com his homepage? Personalization: My.About.comSEO Optimize article text to keywords A/B text Title and Description for SERP performance Commission articles to match trending / underserved keywords Standard white-hat page optimizationSEM Automated bids to ad revenue received from session bought Segment by device, time of day, et. al.
  • 9. Traffic (cont)ReferralLinks Ask.com integration Syndication partnerships Paid content discovery engines: nRelate, Outbrain, Gravity,Taboola Content API/widget for blogs & smaller content sitesSocial /Sharing Buttons much more visible: show all icons, better placement More sharing options: No Pinterest? Really?Newsletter Signup much more visible: on home, category, article pages - abovethe fold Replace daily generic, single-topic newsletter with personalized,multi-topic newsletter Redesign & responsive designRed: Specific examples to follow
  • 10. Traffic: Paid Content DiscoverynRelate (acquired by Ask.com in July 2012)OutbrainAlso, Gravity, Taboola, Content.ad, et. al.
  • 11. Traffic: Social / SharingWhat is this? Atreasure hunt? FB, Twitter, etc.icons catchattention Share in pop upso never leavearticle Dont forgetPinterest!HuffPost bar only appearsafter top share icons scrollabove fold. Slick but overkill.A floating share bar is always visible
  • 12. Traffic: Newsletters Drive Traffic!Patch link in header:AOL footer overlay:Note: footer overlay is mobile-friendly
  • 13. EngagementRelevance Does the page content match visitor expectations? Get SEO / SEM right (e.g., negative keywords to reduce falsepositives)Design Looks matter! Use nice, large images Avoid text overload Clearly define /separate content areas from other elements Make it scannable (e.g., bold section headers, bullets)Mobile Looks matter a lot! If it looks hard to read, user will bounce Absolutely no side-to-side scrolling or pinch-to-zoom Responsive design flexible grid, flexible images Single column of text, min. font size, resize image to width, wraptext as nec.Red: Specific examples to follow
  • 14. Engagement (cont)Recommendations Manual (editorial) suggestions Automated suggestions (nRelate, Outbrain, Gravity,Taboola) Graphics, not (just) text PlacementComments Drive repeat visits Reason to register and a chance for About to collect dataPagination Increase pages per article (within reason) Match content length to other elements to avoid awkwardgaps Mobile (small screen): shift to single column with in-line adsRed: Specific examples to follow
  • 15. Engagement: Poor Design BounceText slalomsaround obstacles.My eyes hurt.Are the accidentalclicks worth higherbounce rates?No clear divisionbetween contenttext and ad textDoes this picture comewith a magnifying glass?No Boldface headers tohighlight the key elementsand reassure me that Ivecome to the right place No bullet points either (See what a differencethis makes?)A little more white-spacewould also helpEven bullets canthelp break up theNeverEndingTextLink
  • 16. Engagement: Good Design ReducesBounce (1)Text flowsunobstructedNow thats a(pin-able) picture!Yep, Im in theright placeDivision of contentvs. other elementsis crystal clear
  • 17. Engagement: Good Design ReducesBounce (2)Bold paragraphheaders make thearticle easy to scanWhite space breaks uptext to make it easier onthe eye
  • 18. EditorialselectionsAlgorithmicrecommendationsImmediately below articleseems logical to me but to side of contentis also popularSolution: Test BothEngagement: RecommendationsIncrease Pages/Visit
  • 19. Engagement: Comments DriveRepeat VisitsEasy way to drivereturn trafficPLUS Registration required getdata for later monetization Social sign in encouragecomment sharingJump toCommentssectionExpandson hoverBUT typical placement at page bottom limits commenting.Inserting a thin commenting widget at end of content, aboverecommendations is a good solution.
  • 20. Engagement: (Page)Size MattersMissed adopportunitiesProper paginationmatches contentto ad space.Its that simpleNote: not for mobile. Maximize reduced ad spaceusing single column with in-line ads
  • 21. Parting Thoughts These are hypotheses based on limited data Understand the status quo Formulate hypotheses A/B test (and test and test and test) Follow the data These are just a few examples theres muchmore to be done! This is a huge opportunity Id love to be a partof itI look forward to discussing this withyou in more detail.