Vibrant Social Bar: Getting readers to stick around your social sites

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Trying to secure “likes” and “followers” online has quickly become the norm among business publishers looking to boost traffic to their social media properties. Vibrant Media is betting that Vibrant Social Bar can break that mold. The new product, which was released earlier this month, is designed to help business publishers push more relevant social media content on their websites, such as feeds from Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. It also allows publishers to customize links and search capabilities within the bar to include prepopulated keywords and sponsorships. Vibrant's network includes 6,000 publishers and reaches more than 250 million unique users per month, according to Brian White, VP-publisher solutions at Vibrant. White spoke with Digital Directions about the product. Digital Directions: How does the Vibrant Social Bar work? Brian White: The bar is delivered through a single script of Java code publishers place at the bottom of a page, generally [via] their content management system. The nice thing about the bar is that it can be delivered through the in-text code so, when current publishing partners tell us they want to run the bar, there's no technical implementation work—and it goes live. It's kind of like clicking a switch. There's some customization, maybe a publisher's logo, and we let them pick which aspects of followers or sharing they want to use. There's also customization around adding buttons, so publishers can link to video or mobile venues. The bar appears in its native form a split second after the page loads, and there are interactive elements. So, if you mouse over the ad area or click on the Facebook or Twitter areas, [the] content will appear. DD: How does the technology help business publishers enhance their social media strategy, in terms of getting beyond “likes”? White: The one thing the sites really like [about the bar] is it's a persistent way to get people interacting with [a] brand and with articles. One of the challenges we've heard from publishers is that, "We put sharing functionalities on our website and they just take up space.' At least with the bar, people will always know where it is; it's easily found and easily interacted with. It's kind of a known commodity—whereas site design and limitations of site layout make it difficult to integrate some of the things that publishers like to do easily—and this is an easy way to do it. It's more of a call to action, rather than having a static “like” button in an article. DD: How does the new tool bar extend the reach of business publishers into the various social channels? White: It appears a split second after the page load, so it calls attention to this social sharing functionality; and we feel this will improve interactivity. Our b-to-b focus is currently mostly in the tech and finance sectors, from both an advertiser and publisher perspective. B-to-b sites outside of these areas are generally very specialized, and don't have the same volume of page traffic as similar consumer sites. The Social Bar is a way for Vibrant to work with these more niche b-to-b sites and provide them a valuable new ad placement to sell.
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