About three years ago, we had just introduced a new look and feel for C&EN’s weekly print magazine. At the time, the magazine had not seen any major changes for a number of years, and we were excited to be able to inject new life into its design and overhaul the organization of the content.
A year later, in 2017, we revamped C&EN’s Digital Magazine, the replica of the print magazine that our digital subscribers receive each Monday. At the same time, we reengineered our workflows and processes as well as our content management software so we can produce the journalism our audience loves more quickly and efficiently.
Fast forward to 2018 and the launch of our monthly podcast, C&EN’s Stereo Chemistry, with which we were looking to replicate the success of our video series, Speaking of Chemistry. Since the launch, we have been enjoying the opportunity to broadcast the voices of the members of the community, such as interviews with graduate students from around the world, where we asked how they stay motivated in their education and careers, or with the head of a drug discovery organization who explained why this may be the decade of RNA.
But this was just one of the many developments that we implemented in 2018. Straight after the podcast launch, we introduced a new mobile-optimized website that allows users to find the news that matters to them—whether it’s the latest in catalysis, diversity, drug discovery, or materials—faster than ever before. The new site provides better integration of advertising features and improved targeting of our advertisers’ messages. In particular, we have made native advertising more attractive, interactive and easier to find, while still showcasing FTC-compliant labeling consistently.
The new site also includes a metered paywall that allows non–American Chemical Society members to sample C&EN content before they decide to join ACS. Similar to other models regulating content access across newsrooms around the world, now everyone – no matter who or where they are – can read a set number of articles before they’re asked to subscribe to our newsletter, or become an ACS member for more of our coverage. By expanding our audience, this also expands our advertisers’ campaigns even further.
And the product development spree continued into 2019. We just introduced a new, artificial intelligence–powered recommendation engine that helps readers discover other content they might find valuable. C&EN’s culture has also transformed significantly in the last three years and it is now one of continuous innovation: we’re constantly evolving our products so we can better serve our readers’ and advertisers’ needs. Our latest project is perfect proof of this: a voice skill for smart speakers. Media organizations have been predicting a “voice search revolution”, with experts estimating about 50% of all searches will be conducted by voice by 2020. We want to be ready when this revolution happens and ensure readers can find C&EN’s journalism on this emerging platform.
We’re constantly evolving our products so we can better serve our readers’ and advertisers’ needs
Our news briefing for voice, launched on Feb. 11 and aptly called Chemistry Update by C&EN, delivers news highlights to Amazon Echo smart speakers. Chemistry Update includes three short news briefs each weekday, as well as a weekend roundup of the most interesting briefs of the previous week. It will allow readers to get caught up on the latest from C&EN in just a couple of minutes.
On the advertising side, our innovation also includes an entirely new display ad unit: we introduced a header reveal to replace a pop-up interstitial. These ad units surpass average click through rates (CTR) of traditional ads by over 86%, yielding an average CTR of 0.60%. They are also in compliance with digital advertising standards set by the Interactive Advertising Bureau and Google’s Coalition for Better Ads.
And there is more to come….
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Bibiana Campos Seijo