Here are the key areas of learning you can expect, as a result of attending:
- Why page speed and HTTPS implementation is important
- Key website performance and optimization techniques – the do’s and don’ts, ad serving and mobile best practices
- Planning considerations to help you get your suggestions get across the line internally
- How leading publishers are winning in this area
- Emerging traffic acquisition channels you can leverage for the holiday season.
This event will be taking place on December 21st at 11 am New York Time. If you can’t attend and would still like to ask some questions, please enter them in the live steam section below, and the State of Digital Publishing team will make sure it is answered during Alexian’s session.
Alexian will also be sharing a summary of Marfeel’s latest whitepaper ‘The Benefits of Switching Over to HTTPS‘ which will also be shared with all attendees post-event.
RECEIVE YOUR AMA NOTIFICATION REMINDER
AMA Recap Discussion
Vahe Arabian (Moderator): Hi, Alexian. I just received a question from Saleem Khawaja; Digital Products Director at Dods Group – https://prnt.sc/hp2u7i
Vahe Arabian (Moderator): He has asked whether or not blockchain is on the horizon.
Vahe Arabian (Moderator): Hi, everyone, less than 45 mins to go. Alexian has also joined us so if you have any questions in advance, please feel free to drop them into the chat so that he can go through it in order. Thanks!
Guest1769 (Guest): I don’t know if this is working but GO SPEED!!!!
Vahe Arabian (Moderator): I can read it for sure. Thanks, Guest 1769.
pattownebz (Guest): Is it a good thing for me to inline CSS styles for my site? I get messages when doing speed tests that my CSS files are too big.
Vahe Arabian (Moderator): Alright, everyone. Let’s get started!
Vahe Arabian (Moderator): Quick intro, housekeeping rules and then straight into the agenda and questions.
Vahe Arabian (Moderator): We’ve got Alexian Chiavegato. He is the Chief Marketing officer of Marfeel and brings more than ten years’ experience in developing and implementing sales-oriented yet creative marketing strategies for a range of organizations. Before coming to Marfeel, Alexian was chief marketing officer at FAXI and director of marketing at Crowd Reactive and Voxy.
Vahe Arabian (Moderator): Marfeel is an ad serving and site/mobile optimization solution for publishers.
Vahe Arabian (Moderator): Thanks for joining us, Alexian.
Alexian: Hi there, Vahe. Big thanks to State of Digital Publishing for hosting this! Hi there, everyone. Thank you for joining us today.
Vahe Arabian (Moderator): So the housekeeping rules. Alexian is going to go through the questions in order, so we’d appreciate your patience as he goes through each one. I will jump in and answer any ones as necessary. The last 10 mins will be dedicated to a whitepaper Marfeel put together on HTTPS.
Vahe Arabian (Moderator): Final two rules: 1) keep the conversation respectful and without any profanity. 2) Go hard with your questions, because these Alexian and Marfeel are pretty advanced dudes.
Vahe Arabian (Moderator): Over to you, Alexian!
Guest4813 (Guest): 🙂
Alexian: Excellent, thanks! I look forward to answering your questions about website performance and optimization opportunities today. I understand that I received a question earlier regarding blockchain from Saleem. He asked, “Is blockchain on the horizon for publishers?”
Alexian: I’m sure that we are all aware of blockchain’s rise to prominence with the way it has been propelling cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. As it continues to evolve, we will see that it certainly has the potential to transform digital advertising.
Alexian: Given that digital advertising is a $223 billion global industry, it is a prime target for innovation and new technologies. With that said, the ad tech ecosystem is very complex and in constant change, so it is difficult to accurately predict what blockchain’s impact will be. However, it will certainly be on the radar of big players in the industry.
Guest4813 (Guest): Can you explain how you use PWA?
Alexian: Another guest asked, “Is inline CSS good for my site?”
Alexian: Inline CSS is normally considered bad practice because of its potential to inflate code and make websites heavy. Linking to an external CSS file is best practice, as this minifies the code on your website while also making it easier for you yourself to make a single change that can be reflected across your entire website. Hope this helps!
Vahe Arabian (Moderator): For Saleem, the one thing I can add until Alexian answers the second question is that social media publishing (Facebook, YouTube, etc.) to blockchain based social media platforms will be the ones that offer retention of ownership and remuneration for content.
pattownebz (Guest): Thanks, Alexian!
Vahe Arabian (Moderator): Some solutions are already out there, but they are still in infant stages.
Alexian: For the question that we were asked regarding how Marfeel uses PWAs, in terms of speed, we use service workers (the APIs that make PWAs possible) to improve device detection and increase page speed by resolving the user and device sooner.
Alexian: In terms of UX, we deliver features that were formerly only available for native apps, such as push notifications over the web, two types of offline access, and saving to the home screen to deliver a native app experience on the web, and increase engagement from publishers’ users.
Alexian: When we say two types of offline access, we’re referring to accessing content in spotty conditions such as riding the subway. We’re able to do this because we pre-fetch as soon as possible. The second type of offline access is that we provide the ability for users to download entire sections in situations where they know they won’t have connectivity like while flying.
Vahe Arabian (Moderator): @guest4813 – Were u looking for specific technical info? Hope this helps!
Alexian: Here are some resources that explore PWAs from a more technical perspective. First up, you can find out more about how we have developed PWAs: https://atenea.marfeel.com/atn/marfeel-press/360-platform/marfeel-progressive-webapps-pwas
Alexian: Also, you can find more details on this excellent resource from the Google Developer Blog: https://developers.google.com/web/progressive-web-apps/
Vahe Arabian (Moderator): Thanks for this, Alexian.
Vahe Arabian (Moderator): If everyone is happy, let’s move ahead with the agenda.
Alexian: Sounds great. Thank you, Vahe!
Vahe Arabian (Moderator): So Alexian, looking at it in real terms, why is HTTPS important, besides site security?
Alexian: Naturally, we all think of security when we first hear HTTPS. The WPA2 vulnerability earlier this year highlighted just how important encryption is. However, HTTPS offers publishers a lot more than user trust and better security. For example, it is necessary to adopt the emerging technology-like service workers-needed to develop PWAs.
Alexian: What’s more, Google also publicly announced that its crawlers favor HTTPS by default, so there can be SEO impacts for publishers here.
Vahe Arabian (Moderator): Do you have any client cases on the impact HTTPS has had for them?
Alexian: Also, Chrome and Firefox label sites as non-secure if they are served over HTTP and have any field where a user needs to input any kind of data. That can even include search fields, so this obviously has implications for a publisher’s brand.
Alexian: Sure. All of our publishers that have either joined us and been compliant with HTTPS or have made the transition to us have been able to have a PWA developed for them.
Alexian: So, that means that they have access to all of the previous features that we discussed: push notifications over the web, offline access, etc.
Vahe Arabian (Moderator): Any client with noticeable results?
Alexian: Certainly! We have a selection of case studies on how Marfeel has been able to increase engagement and revenue for a diverse assortment of publishers and sites here: https://www.marfeel.com/case-studies/
Alexian: There, you will find specific metrics that we have been able to boost as a result of our technology, product, and platform.
Vahe Arabian (Moderator): Thanks for this, will send some cases surrounding HTTPS in our recap.
Vahe Arabian (Moderator): So, now we come to the meaty technical part.
Vahe Arabian (Moderator): Site/page/server speed optimization.
Vahe Arabian (Moderator): Where to start, Alexian?
Alexian: Indeed, there’s a lot of ground to cover here!
Alexian: We could begin with page speed if that’s okay? If something comes to mind along the way, please feel free to jump in!
Vahe Arabian (Moderator): No Problem.
Alexian: In order to deliver instantaneous page speed, publishers need to optimize pretty much every aspect of their website. But let’s begin with media assets.
Alexian: It is imperative that publishers are using the latest technologies regarding optimization tools and algorithms. For example, WebP, which is a new image format that is 26% smaller than PNGs and 34% smaller than JPEGs, all while providing lossless compression.
Alexian: Brotli is something else that we recommend publishers become familiar with. This is essentially the latest version of ZIP, invented by Google; this is a compression algorithm that can save up to 26% when compared to Zopfli.
Alexian: Moving away from optimizing assets, another big consideration to make is ensuring that publishers do not have an m. redirection.
Vahe Arabian (Moderator): Pretty cool!
Alexian: M. redirections can increase load time by roughly one second, and increase the threat of non-responsive content. I know this isn’t about speed, but from an SEO standpoint, it is not a best practice to have an m. redirection, because Google can consider this as a separate entity which can cannibalize SEO.
Alexian: You also need to ensure you contract the right features from your CDN provider.
Alexian: Does anybody have any questions about that?
Vahe Arabian (Moderator): Just quickly, what are some of the other techniques we need to look out for the next few months?
Alexian: Try to optimize CSS and JS as much as possible.
Alexian: If you can move device detection to the server side so that you can capitalize on your mobile audience which is growing.
Alexian: Focus on mobile. Google announced yesterday that they are moving to mobile-first indexing, so this should be a priority for publishers.
Vahe Arabian (Moderator): Cool, so for all these points how do we make sure we make it happen?
Vahe Arabian (Moderator): How can we overcome internal roadblocks?
Vahe Arabian (Moderator): And what are some publishers who are doing a good job in keeping up to date on this front?
Alexian: Keep a finger on the pulse of the industry, and make sure you subscribe to all of the relevant blogs and sources that are out there.
Alexian: Invest in the right development resources and prioritize mobile.
pattownebz (Guest): I have to say that the advice for prioritizing mobile isn’t always the best advice. Make sure you know if your audience uses mobile too.
pattownebz (Guest): In my industry, I get less than 2% mobile users visiting my sites.
Vahe Arabian (Moderator): Fair point @pattownebz, have you made sure that there isn’t a site performance issue though?
Alexian: We love what we do and we are passionate about it, so we are very proud of our partners. Some examples in the US include The Washington Times and Den of Geek. So when you can, do check out their publications!
Alexian: That’s a great point pattownebz. We focus on content-based publications, which has a mobile-first market.
Alexian: Of course, as a publisher, you have a clear connection and understanding of your audience, so you know what will work best for them.
Vahe Arabian (Moderator): Alexian, what are some of the traffic acquisitions and UX methods our attendees could focus on for the holiday season?
pattownebz (Guest): Indeed the focus should be on the audience you get, just wanted to note that in some industries the users aren’t always on mobile. Focus on your audience devices first.
Vahe Arabian (Moderator): Definitely.
pattownebz (Guest): My industry serves mid-high end desktop devices. I get that in your industry it may be mobile mainly. Sorry, if I just jumped in and interrupted, been back and forth between this chat and a call.
Vahe Arabian (Moderator): No problem.
Alexian: Publishers need to make sure they have a presence on all the prominent channels that their audience use. That includes Facebook Instant Articles, AMP, Google Newsstand, and Apple News if you are a US-based publisher.
Alexian: It’s fine pattownebz, it’s great to be able to chat and connect – you didn’t interrupt at all. Thanks for your contribution!
Alexian: For traffic acquisition, publishers need to go where any traffic is.
Alexian: These channels have been diversified through different platforms like AMP or FIA. So, if there is the potential for acquisition there, publishers need to make sure that they make the necessary developments and have a presence there.
Alexian: In terms of UX, make sure that you nurture and respect your reader.
Alexian: This is a great time to capitalize on the high value of ad inventory, but if you increase your ad configuration to be too aggressive, this might have an inverse effect on engagement.
Vahe Arabian (Moderator): Thanks for the tips!
Alexian: As we mentioned earlier: Speed. This is critical. The longer your site takes to load, the higher your bounce rate will be.
Vahe Arabian (Moderator): As we have a few mins left, can you share some insights in the HTTPS whitepaper, and why our guest should read it?
Alexian: Certainly. Earlier we touched on why HTTPS is important, and why its benefits extend far beyond security.
Alexian: The material that we produced on HTTPS is a deep-dive into those benefits, specifically focusing on how HTTPS is great for publishers.
Alexian: As we move into 2018 and new tech is rolled out, being HTTPS compliant will ensure that you can be an early adopter and deliver engaging experiences to your readers.
Vahe Arabian (Moderator): Agreed. Everyone, any final questions?
Alexian: I hope that you enjoy reading the piece, and I hope it answers any questions that you might have on HTTPS and why you need to adopt it.
Vahe Arabian (Moderator): I’m sure they will. Thank you again, Alexian for hosting this and to everyone who is in attendance.
Vahe Arabian (Moderator): We will have new AMA’s hopefully from mid-Jan onwards. As usual, we will send the recap notes.
Vahe Arabian (Moderator): Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Alexian: Thank you very much, Vahe, and thanks to State of Digital Publishing. I had a lot of fun here and I hope I was able to help with some of your questions. Happy holidays to you all and thanks again!