How Grow.me Helped The Hollywood Gossip Make $100,000. Already.

woman on phone reading the hollywood gossip

We spend a lot of time talking about Grow.me as Mediavine’s first-party data solution for the coming decade, as Google phases out third-party cookies and the entire world shifts toward a privacy-first web.

What we don’t talk about enough — and publishers may not even realize — is that in addition to building up your first-party data, Grow.me can help you increase your earnings today.

Key Takeaways

  • You might already know that Grow.me is Mediavine’s first-party data solution, but did you know that it can help you increase your earnings today???
  • The same feature set that will entice your readers to consent to being served personalized ads once third-party cookies are gone will also drive traffic and increase revenue.
  • Grow.me’s Recommended Content feature is making a huge difference for Mediavine’s owned-and-operated site The Hollywood Gossip.
  • The numbers: 2-4% increase in CTR with inline content recommendations, 4.5% additional pageviews and a 164.25% increase in time on site once users have engaged with Grow.me.
  •  A dashboard for Grow.me is in the works, but in the meantime, use Google Analytics to track your success. We created a GA Shared Dashboard to help.
  • Grow.me is free and available for all Mediavine publishers in your Dashboard today. Turn it on to begin building your first-party data and increase traffic and earnings today!

We know this because we’ve seen it on Mediavine’s owned and operated site, The Hollywood Gossip, where Grow.me is driving more traffic and making THG more revenue right here in the third-party cookie era.

Below, we’ll tell you how we did it and how you can do it — complete with a cool Google Analytics Dashboard link so you can follow along at home and model this on your own site.

What is Grow.me?

Grow.me is a toolkit that provides a value exchange — a series of ways for websites to encourage readers to log in and consent to the website collecting first-party data in return for a better user experience.

Mediavine sees the collection of first-party data — and the ability to serve personalized ads in a cookie-less world — as the path forward for our industry which is why we created Grow.me.

Here’s the thing though: The same features which provide a superior experience and encourage audiences to log in also drive traffic and revenue. Today, tomorrow, next month and next year.

We’ve seen it happen with The Hollywood Gossip, thanks to an aspect of Grow.me that might seem familiar to internet — and Netflix — users.

screenshot of recommended content on the hollywood gossip

Content Recommendation

One of the coolest features of Grow.me is its content recommendation feature, powered by artificial intelligence algorithms.

On a basic level, it’s not unlike the algorithms all your beloved streaming apps use when curating “Recommended For Eric” content.

If a user logs in, they’ll receive personal recommendations based on things they’ve read, shared and favorited on your website.

Meanwhile, logged-out users will receive recommendations based on what other users have clicked on and the content they’re browsing.

Again, think Netflix.

As a celebrity gossip site in an era where there are more actors, singers and reality stars than an individual reader could possibly know, manual content recommendation just doesn’t work.

Machine learning, however, is working freakishly well.

Whether you’re reading about Tom Hanks, Kim Kardashian or a Z-list celebrity in air quotes, Grow.me instantly finds and recommends related content on THG that other users are clicking on.

We’re seeing a 2-4% CTR (click-through rate) whenever an inline content recommendation is shown. What’s more impressive is The Hollywood Gossip uses infinite scroll and auto-loads the next post, which means (currently) only the first page gets content recommendations.

These numbers are only going to improve as we continue to roll out new features for Grow.me. Even with those limitations, what does a 2-4% CTR actually mean for a publisher’s traffic?

The Hollywood Gossip Results

Combined with carousel and sidebar recommendations, social, search and bookmarks, Grow.me has already provided an additional 5.1% pageviews to The Hollywood Gossip since enabling Grow.me.

Although that is a lot of pageviews at THG’s size — and a big improvement over other recommended content options — the most amazing part of Grow.me’s impact is the value of those views.

The increase in time on site, or session duration from Grow.me traffic, is how we’re defining value in this case.

The average user on The Hollywood Gossip spends 1:45 on site, according to Google Analytics. Not bad, but users who interacted with any Grow.me widgets spend an average of 4:38!

That’s an astonishing 164.25% more time on site! Either 90 Day Fiance is really that compelling or machine learning knows what it’s doing.

But seriously, folks: Whatever your content is about, longer sessions from readers browsing that content means — you guessed it — more ads viewed and increased RPM per session as a result.

When you’re talking about a site earning millions per year in THG’s case, that means hundreds of thousands of dollars in extra views.

But no matter the size of your audience, such robust increases in session duration and CTR can make a material difference immediately.

Measuring Grow.me Success

Grow.me doesn’t have its own Dashboard (yet), but for now you can use Google Analytics to measure how your website benefits from it.

By default, as users interact with your website through Grow.me, it will automatically output Google Analytics Events.

Events include when users click on recommended content, as well as when they share, favorite and search your content.

It will also append UTM tracking codes for Bookmarks so you’ll see Grow.me as a traffic referral source when users click through to a second pageview.

We know that Google Analytics may feel confusing, even intimidating to dive into, so we’ve created the following Google Analytics Shared Dashboard to help you track your site’s performance.

To install it, just click the link above, select the Google Analytics view you usually use and name your Dashboard.

screenshot of adding grow.me google analytics dashboard

Once you do this, it will be saved on the left hand side under Dashboards for you to access any time. Simple as that.

Our hope is that this Google Analytics Dashboard will help you see the events Grow.me is producing, as well as the traffic it’s providing.

screenshot of the google analytics grow.me dashboard

Using these charts, you can quickly observe the increase in traffic and the impact on session duration as we discussed above.

Get Started With Grow.me!

We’re not going to beg or guilt you but seriously — just do it okay? Please? You’re all out of excuses NOT to grow your site with Grow.me.

Did we mention Grow.me is free for Mediavine publishers, including the content recommendation feature we just described in all its glory?

Not only will you get a head start in collecting first-party data, which will be incredibly important in the coming year(s), but it can also lead to more pageviews, user engagement and revenue immediately.

It will be worth your while now and down the road.

As always, please reach out to us anytime with questions or if you need assistance.

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