Publishers rethink the infinite scroll
The infinite scroll is a work in progress.
The feature, which loads content continuously as readers scroll down the page, has gone from design curiosity to the go-to tactic for publishers looking to boost time on-site and ad impressions. But publishers are rethinking their approach to it.
With its new article page redesign, for example, Forbes is moving away from presenting readers an endless list of posts. Instead, it’s tweaking the formula so that it shows readers a continuous list of trending headlines, which it says offers readers better mobile reading experience and boosts the viewability of its ads.
“We understood the appeal of infinite scrolling, but there wasn’t a lot of extra browsing or consumption of stories happening after people clicked that first article,” said Forbes chief product officer Lewis DVorkin. “People were reading maybe one or two in the stream.”
Forbes isn’t the only publisher cooling on the infinite scroll. CNN, too, is down on the idea, and the recent Wired relaunch also avoided it. Some publishers just aren’t convinced that the feature lives up to its promise. Part of it could be the implementation. Few publishers have been particularly sophisticated with their infinite scroll features, rarely going beyond presenting articles in blog-like reverse-chronological order.
But the approach is evolving. With Travel + Leisure’s new redesign, for example, the site is getting smarter about the articles it offers readers in its stream. Rather than present stories reverse-chronologically, the site plans to “deliver contextually relevant content” based on the topic of the original story, according to editor Nathan Lump.
Bloomberg Business has a similar strategy. Its own infinite scroll implementation, introduced with its redesign in January, serves readers new articles based on a recommendation algorithm. The feature, dubbed “the Transporter,” uses signals about what’s popular on the site to determine what to present next.
Quartz, one of the first publishers to adopt infinite scroll, sees the appeal in algorithms and personalization, but has so far kept its approach very human. When Quartz readers scroll to the next post, the only factor determining the article order is the judgment of the site’s editors, who determine the article order each day. Quartz vp of product Zach Seward said that while the site understands the appeal of a more personalized infinite scroll, it’s not hot on the idea so far.
“At this point, I’m not convinced that adding related content or personalization works well enough for our readers or our site,” he said. “Sometimes, you end up serving something that’s old. We don’t find that the story people want to read next is another piece today about the same thing.”
Photo courtesy of Jim, the Photographer
Cheat Sheet: At IAB Podcast Upfront, diverse voices take center stage while podcast advertising revenue and audiences boom
Most of the companies that presented at the IAB Podcast Upfront signaled they had or were going to add more diversity to their programming, both in hosts and content.
Member ExclusiveMedia Briefing: What media companies’ latest earnings reports say about the state of the industry
Media companies' Q1 earnings reports signaled a continued return to business as usual — for better or worse, depending on the company's digital business.
‘Brands tend to be selective’: OMG report offers options to media buyers facing upfront inventory crunch
With a tight upfront TV marketplace expected, one agency group is recommending alternatives in video and CTV.
SponsoredHow The Company Store is reimagining customer experiences for pandemic-era growth
‘You’re fixing a number, not changing the culture’: Confessions of a media exec on diversity quotas
In the rush to improve diversity rates, businesses are in danger of overlooking more fundamental ways to sustain inclusivity in the workplace, according to our latest Confessions interviewee.
‘Direct revenue driver’: How local broadcaster News 12 is partnering with Google to build a younger audience
Local broadcaster used support and funding from Google News Initiative to build a new tool that can automatically identify and feed video content into new website verticals.