If you logged on to Cosmopolitan.com this morning to get your fix of cats, abs or Jennifer Lawrence-related news, you might have noticed that the site got a pretty significant facelift overnight. Also, that there is an undulating man chest on the welcome banner.
Cosmopolitan's redesign is the first in, and the design template for, what will be a year's worth of overhauls for Hearst's other digital titles. The sites will run on a new publishing platform that Hearst has spent the last year developing, which prioritizes a few things. One is the growing contingent of people reading on mobile: Stories will be positioned in an infinite scroll to better suit phone screens. Another is advertiser satisfaction.
Since banner advertisements have gone the way of the dinosaurs (and are much less fondly remembered), Hearst is paving the way to the future with a system that allows it to "create experiences for advertising partners that are seamlessly integrated with editorial content," or in layman's terms, to "push out sponsored content like there's no tomorrow."
As Troy Young, the president of Hearst's digital division, told WWD on Tuesday morning, "This is a content marketing platform, not a CMS, which is what you traditionally see... Marketers are looking for a solution in a post-banner world."
In addition to advertorials, which will be denoted with a shared byline between the publication and the sponsor, advertisers will have the chance to promote their products in the form of shopping opportunities mixed in with the content feed. On Cosmopolitan's website, a small "Marketplace" bar with sections like "Best Designer Dresses" and "Best Beauty Products" that link through to shopping pages.
With any luck, the new platform will also keep readers on the website for longer; Cosmpolitan.com editor Amy Odell wrote in a post this morning that personalization features will serve up more content similar to what the user has already clicked on. And, Odell writes, "You'll find share buttons pretty much everywhere — on images, below headlines, below stories. They'll even float like soap bubbles down the page with you when you scroll." To spur on further virality, the site will have a hashtag of the day, located at the top of the page. Today's is #CosmoRelaunch.
Cosmo's new site looks good, for sure. But the true test of its worth will be measured by how well it does with advertisers.