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Do viral content pages make money?

How Do Viral Content Pages Make Money?

If you were to hop onto Facebook right now and start scrolling through your feed, like millions of us do every day, you would likely stumble upon a hilarious meme, riveting article or shocking video that you would inevitably have to share! Many of the pages who license, produce and publish viral media/content like this are less wily meme pages and more digital media giants who have a full team of social media gurus working in knee-jerk reaction time to keep their exclusive, viral media generators going. Taking the examples of infamous Facebook Feed dominators such as The LAD Bible and 9GAG and we sought to explore in this article why the new generation of media companies get the traction that they do, and how this results in huge revenue numbers driven by millions of hits.

The LAD Bible

The LAD Bible, one of the most famous content pages on Facebook (and we’d daresay the Internet in general) is well known for producing and posting some of the most robust articles, memes, pictures, and videos every day, probably over a hundred times a day. They’re also, however, notorious for publishing content that has, more often than not, been scrutinized by the public for containing offensive, false, or clickbait material. It would make sense, since the group’s name isn’t a namesake, but rather a testament to the times: a GoAmplifyUK article sums up the history in nutshell, remarking that “They originally posted content with a very ‘sexist’ and ‘laddish’ persona which targeted young males. This resulted in a lot of very negative publicity and criticism, which over time has caused them to change the articles they write and promote.” Despite the churlish nature, the 2012 UK start-up had a bright future—growing to become one of the biggest online communities in the world.

The media powerhouse now dominates the public’s attention on Facebook; In 2019, they regularly convert over 250,000 social media surfers into followers and accrue over 4 MILLION site visitors a day! How is this done exactly? It starts with content. From sharing celebrities’ media and news content to scouring Reddit for scattered to-be viral videos, to even hosting an open inbox for subscribers to submit their own potentially hot topics, the team at LAD Bible has, as BuzzFeed News notes, “refined quickfire viral publishing into an art form.” After content, engagement is where LAD exceeds—and the numbers prove it. The media kingpin uses flashy, unanswered questions as titles to draw audiences towards evergreen content and boost call-to-response, subsequently driving engagement and building their weekly social interactions to over 3.5 million per week. This continuous stream of fresh content fed to old and new viewers means high engagement levels that trigger SEO and invoke algorithms to favor that content—some pretty ingenious marketing. Once they constructed the content pipeline and ensured a powerful flow of traffic, the group charged $100 for 100,000 views to ad space hunters and profited out with $1.2 million in revenue.

Well done, Lads!

9GAG

While The LAD Bible might have it in the books for most clever (and sly) social media strategy given their masculine-founded and grounded community, their numbers still aren’t quite on par with some of the other major players in the game. Here, we take the example of 9GAG, a website devoted to memes, meme culture, and almost an offshoot from websites such as Reddit and 4CHAN (pioneers of internet culture/humor and social media). The humor haven serves a sizable portion of the Internet, hosting categories and spaces for all sorts of fanbases—anime and manga, comics, movies, animals, food and drink, and sports to name just a handful. According to Worth of Web, 9GAG has over 11,680,000 site visits a day, an astonishing number for a humor content site. This amounts to well over 4 BILLION visits a year—and that’s not even counting individual page views. The meme monger receives over 21 Billion page views a year! Quite a staggering statistic to achieve. These massive figures aren’t just for display, however. 9GAG holds a seat at the round table of royalty, sitting at Google page rank #6. This prestigious spot amongst the literal entire Internet results in $9.8 million in revenue—but where does it all come from? 9GAG’s millions of daily viewers provide well over $13,000 in daily advertising revenue. It seems that 9GAG, and many sites like it, proudly reject the idea of using a third party advertising client such as “Adsense” to bring in the big bucks. They opted to instead design and create their own native advertising platform, bringing 100% of the return back to them. Breaking it down further: 21 billion page views a year means serious, serious exposure for any company looking to list a web ad on another site that’s getting significant traffic. For 9GAG’s level of Atlanta-esque, jam-packed servers, this is obviously not a problem. They sell off spots on their site for restaurants, firms or even other content pages for a huge price tag—but the return is well worth it for those ad buyers. Upon landing on the site, one notices that actual advertisements are few and far between. This greatly reduces the annoyance factor for site fans and provides a huge competition driver for the coveted ad spaces. A very effective, yet very subtle process!

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