TechCrunch is now using Spot.IM to power comments and chats between online readers across its site.
“It’s a real honor for us to collaborate with TechCrunch to form this online community… and perhaps build the biggest start-up community in the world,” said Spot.IM CEO Nadav Shoval at TechCrunch’s Disrupt conference earlier this month.
Shoval joined TechCrunch’s Senior Director of Subscriptions and Audience Growth Travis Bernard on stage at Disrupt. Bernard discussed the tech news site’s shifting strategy to focus on fostering an online community for the start-up ecosystem, instead of simply trying to reach the biggest audience possible.
Like many publishers, TechCrunch placed a lot of emphasis on using Facebook to drive traffic in 2013 and 2014. At that time the company chose to use Facebook commenting on their site.
“We let Facebook sink its claws into our community and I really feel like we started to lose control of our users,” Bernard said. TechCrunch was unable to track user engagement using Facebook comments and found a lot of spam in their feeds.
When Bernard started to look closely at the data, he learned that of their 15-20 million monthly readers, roughly 1-3% were highly engaged. These highly engaged readers visited the site everyday and generated 10-15% of their total traffic.
TechCrunch decided that focusing on growing their most engaged users would have the biggest impact over time – growing their ad business, subscriptions and events business.