"Everything was great till Facebook started changing its content ranking algorithms”
-Jomar, CEO @Philnews.ph
Jomar founded Philippine News (Philnews.ph) along with a friend in 2010. It took almost three years of backbreaking efforts and the website became one of the “five most popular blogs of Philippine” in 2014. What started as a hobby, became a preferred news destination for millions of Filipinos in less than 4 years.
Philnews.ph generates most of its traffic from organic search and competes for eyeballs head to head with leading Philippines news portals including the likes of ABS-CBN, GMA-7, and PhilStar.com.
Jomar believes in engaging with its readers across multiple touchpoints. As a result of which, the website today built an active community of 22,000+ members on Facebook, 800+ followers on Twitter and 11.5 million website visitors/month.
Just like most of the media companies, we hear bashing the walled gardens, Philnews also depended heavily on the digital duopoly - Google and Facebook. As per the news portal, the instant articles by Facebook back then drove high engagements and brought huge returns on the efforts invested by the content publishers. It had to be true, given that the time pages took to fully load, was exceptionally less. Subsequently, the one man blog army of Jomar built a team of social media professionals to expand its audience size and engage readers on Facebook to get more, more, and more referral traffic.
But, everything they built started to go south when Facebook started modifying its content ranking algorithms.
“When it was video content getting the priority, the traffic acquisition model of Philnew.ph altered accordingly. When Facebook’s 20,000 algorithms prioritized content with more comments (discussions) to get a leading rank, our acquisition model changed again.”
- Jomar, CEO @Philnews.ph
With constant modifications, like more stories for higher priority, coming in, Facebook’s contribution to the overall traffic gradually started to diminish. Constant algorithm changes didn’t let Philnews master any single ranking strategy. All that from a platform they put their tooth and nail to build an audience on.
Search engine traffic is great but that again comes with a little loyalty. A major chunk of referral traffic went down the drain and Philnews.ph reached the place where they wanted to get over Facebook just to have a fresh start.
It was a bright Friday morning. Jomar fell in love with iZooto's easy installation and integration at the demo itself and decided to get started with Piyush Mehra, to make those that came once visit again.
"Philnews was already publishing quality content and reporting every facet of the news to its audience. All they wanted was a solution which could help them to engage and retain their audience. This is where iZooto came into the picture and the rest is a success story."
-Piyush Mehra, Sales partner @iZooto
Philnews created campaigns and pushed out notifications that targeted readers with news segments, they spent most of their time reading.
iZooto’s Customer Success team analyzed the campaign reports and Google Analytics reports of Philnews. The team that works with 15,000+ marketers worldwide, dug out the insights that could help Philnews improve their campaign’s performance. And, as expected, it did. On their highest spirits, iZooto’s Customer Support team examined the targeted audience segments and their on-site behavior. And, consequently, located the potential audience that showed repeated engagement (Identified the audience).
Consistent engagement is the port of call for marketers. Once the audience-building kicks in, it is time to put in place an exhaustive strategy to engage the audience with relevant content.
Philnews restricted itself to pushing top stories only. They started using notifications with visuals to attract more audience. They made double sure that the notification elements were placed right and efficiently used. For instance, most publishers replace their brand logo with the content featuring image for more content exposure and lose out on building a brand. Philnews, fortunately, didn’t fall for that. Unlike many other publishers, Philnews focused on consistency and built a habit loop for their audience. Their audience was receiving notifications EVERY DAY. This didn’t just help them build a brand but also made the audience rely on the media company for consistent news reports.
Audience engagement increased drastically as they remembered the value they got from their last experience. Philnews, on the other side, stayed patient with its traffic goals and pushed relevant, timely, and personalized notifications only. (engaged the audience)
iZooto and Philnews, both backed each other and acted like an audience-building engine with three functioning components:
In less than 3 months, Philnews has been able to build a loyal and engaged audience that they have a direct relationship with.
In just 3 months, iZooto and Philnews were able to crack achievements that included (but weren’t limited to):
“After using iZooto for several days, it made me think that this could be the replacement for the lost traffic from Facebook. Now, after three months, my realization was correct which also justified my first impression with iZooto. Currently, iZooto increases my traffic by more than 20% every month”
- Jomar, CEO, Philnews
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