Optimize your content layouts with the underwriting sidebar for posts

May 2, 2017

Over the past few years, many digital news organizations have been observing increases in visitors coming to our sites via story pages, and only story pages. Some have debated the death of the homepage, amid strong engagement persisting for those that do land on the homepage first. Keeping this increasing trend towards Post Pages in mind (accounting for over 50% of visits), we’ve been working to improve the user experience of the Post Pages on Core Publisher and promoted sustained engagement.

In the last few months, we’ve experimented with social icons, resulting in 81.33% increase on average in social shares year-over-year. In December, we revisited the related content section at the end of stories, using best practices to increase engagement.

Since beginning this effort, we’ve also worked with our editorial and visuals team to make interactive embeddable widgets available to stations on a regular basis. After the success of our debate night widgets, we’ve been able to offer similar embeds like the Congressional Healthcare Response Tracker, executive order annotations, and much more. But for stations using Google DoubleClick for Publishers (DFP), the interference with ads was becoming a problem.Now, we are launching the Underwriting Sidebar for posts.

Designed for stations using Google Doubleclick for Publishers (DFP), stations will now be able to house their DFP ads in a sidebar on post pages. This has the following benefits to the user interface of the Post pages:

  • Embeddables (e.g., Youtube videos, SoundCloud, etc) and images no longer conflict with ads, ending up with content being pushed down the page
  • More ads are now found above-the-fold, increasing impressions

Before:

Ads would interfere with body content, creating large gaps between body text and media.

Now:

Ads are moved to to a specialized section on the post page, similar to experience users see on the homepage.


Stations will be able to enable the right-rail feature for post pages on a global setting as well as a post-by-post basis.

We partnered with WFAE, Cape and Island Radio, and WESA to test the ease-of-use and value of this feature. All three partners either agreed or strongly agreed that this feature was:

  1. Easy to use
  2. Improved the experience of their posts
  3. Improved the experience of posts with ads.

This will be released by 5:00 PM EST on May 2nd, 2017.