Congratulations to DEZEEN who are winners of Small Digital Publisher of the Year 2018
Your ’Elevator Pitch’
2017 was Dezeen’s best year ever in terms of audience and commercial growth. A string of stunning editorial initiatives set the global design agenda while a host of eye-catching branded-content projects - with global brands including IKEA, Samsung and MINI - lifted revenues substantially.
Alexa ranked us among the top 5,000 websites for the first time, making us the world’s highest-ranking architecture and design website, and broke into the Comment1000 list of the world’s most commented sites.
Our Brexit Passport Competition was our most successful editorial initiative ever, gaining coverage on every major media site including BBC News and Sky News.
Set The Scene
Facebook’s decision to de-prioritise publisher content in its news feed threatened our biggest source of traffic. The Brexit-induced fall in the value of the pound threatened our e-commerce business www.dezeenwatchstore.com, since we sourced our products overseas. This combined with the growing competition from large players such as Amazon made the business unviable, and we made the tough decision to close it and focus on our other revenue streams: display and recruitment advertising, branded content, events and social media.
We also suffered two burglaries at our London office, with all computers being stolen – twice.
Tell Us The Story
Our focus in 2017 was to provide better services to readers and customers. As always, we also aimed to set the editorial agenda for our sector.
Our switch away from e-commerce freed up resources to invest heavily in tech to drive engagement. We introduced Liftigniter, a customised machine-learning service to increase page views and dwell time plus invested in tools to automate social media posting (SocialFlow), search (Algolia) and analytical reporting (Parsely).
We relaunched our recruitment site www.dezeenjobs.com, improving the service we offer jobseekers dramatically and building a database of 10,000 candidates in the first month.
We jumped on new technologies including livestreaming, building an international event live-streaming business from scratch and securing high-profile projects in the USA, Netherlands, Italy and more.
Editorially we scored huge successes with our Brexit Passport Design Competition - an unofficial bid for alternative designs for a post-Brexit UK passport, which got us media coverage around the world; and with our gender survey of the world’s biggest architecture firms, which found that just 10% of senior management posts are held by women and that just three of the world’s 100 biggest firms are led by women. This initiative sent shockwaves around the industry and has led to pledges of change from multiple organisations.
To overcome the expected downturn in Facebook referrals we focussed on growing our newsletter databases, achieving a 70% growth in subscribers to 397,000 and a 46% growth in newsletter referrals to 1.4m over the year.
2017 was a stunning year for us financially, with a 47% growth in revenue compared to 2016, with turnover topping £2m for the first time ever. The most spectacular growth came from branded content, with revenue growing 76%. Other notable successes were social media revenue, which turned over £195k from a standing start, and overseas revenue growth, with our US business growing 66% and China growing 99%.
Our branded content was not only highly profitable but also highly viewed: video plays grew more than 80% to over 65 million.
Overall our unique visitors and visits both grew 11% to 23m and 53m respectively. Our social audiences grew massively, with Facebook up 40% to 910,000 and Instagram up 53% to 1.4m, making us by far the biggest global force in design publishing.