What deems a story shareable? In an aim to answer that question, Shareably, a bootstrapped lifestyle company publishing thousands of articles across eight properties, measures the value of any story by whether a reader would share it with friends and family. The publisher has found reader desires change quickly, and its mission is to find and publish those stories worth sharing in a technology-driven way that evolves right along with readers.
Peter Kim, Co-founder of Shareably, sat down with SpotX to talk more about the company’s approach to content and its evolution to a programmatic ad strategy.
SpotX: First, can you start by telling us about Shareably?
Peter Kim: Shareably Media Network is an online publishing network that serves over 50 million unique users every month across the world. We currently focus on the following topics: inspiring/positive stories, food, animals, DIY, entertainment, health, and parenting. Founded in 2015 in an apartment while my co-founder (and high school friend) and I were attending UC Berkeley together, our core operations, product, and engineering team is now located in Los Angeles with remote writers scattered across the US.
SpotX: What are you most proud about the journey of how Shareably got to where it is today?
The accomplishment I’m most proud of is that our bootstrapped company has been able to stay profitable every month since its founding and has taken no outside funding to date. This financial flexibility has allowed us to be prudent in our decision making when it comes to strategy, scaling, and hiring. Because we have such a small core team (seven people as of today), we’ve also been able to maintain a horizontal organization where everyone is given a voice and weight in company decisions.
SpotX: What makes Shareably’s content strategy unique?
I would say the most unique aspect of our content strategy is that every piece of content we write is put through a rigorous testing process before it’s flagged as content that’s suitable for our organic and paid traffic strategies. This testing process consists of a set of unique tools that our engineering team has built over the last couple years that look for key performance indicators based on trends we’ve noticed on social channels, like Facebook, where we’re most prominent. Furthermore, our operations team has a set of heuristics that’s been updated since the company’s existence that they use as final pass through.
SpotX: How does this content strategy affect Shareably’s ad strategy?
Our paid traffic acquisition strategy is an extension of our content strategy. Any piece of content that we mark as suitable for paid acquisition will be fed into our traffic buying tool, which handles millions of dollars of ad spend and tens of thousands of ad sets per month. This tool, which was built from scratch by our product and engineering team, has API integrations with the various channels we purchase traffic on as well as an integration into our internal data warehouse, which holds all our real-time programmatic ad revenue data. Our tool merges these two data sets together to make budget scaling decisions on the content campaigns we create.
SpotX: Why did Shareably decide to partner with SpotX?
As a company that invests heavily in its ad technology stack, programmatic video naturally came onto our radar over the last year. We had implemented a video ad stack on our end that would allow us to traffic video demand, and started looking for video-ad-specific demand partners. We weren’t just looking for partners with unique demand — we wanted to work with partners that were forward-thinking about the programmatic video ad industry as a whole. After our initial conversations with SpotX, I immediately knew you had both, and were a partner with which we would have a long-term beneficial relationship.
SpotX: What’s coming up for Shareably in the next six months?
As we continue to evolve as a company, we are always looking for new opportunities that leverage our strength in both technology and publishing. One of those opportunities is the RONProject, which is a platform for written content creators that want to leverage the optimized technology and revenue stack that we’ve built and perfected. We launched RONProject at the start of Q4 2019 and we’ve already started onboarding our first partners to very promising results!
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