Get a sticky ad in your sidebar or on mobile; more streamlining coming

A couple relatively new ad features — which can command a premium price — are ready for you in the Newspack Advertising plugin, and that’s just the beginning of big changes coming to this important part of our platform.

The first is a sticky ad for a page or post sidebar on a wide tablet or desktop, placed at the bottom of your widget stack. It may start off screen, but as the user scrolls and the ad appears, it’ll stick to the top of the sidebar area as the rest of the story continues to scroll. The height doesn’t matter; it could be a typical 300 x 250 or a skyscraper at 300 x 600. To enable this feature, please talk to your Technical Account Manager so your site can be properly configured.

The second is a sticky ad just for mobile devices. The height is limited to 100 pixels, so Google doesn’t consider it too intrusive. A common size is 320 x 50 (the width of an iPhone 5). It sticks to the bottom of the viewport, though it can be dismissed. If a user goes to another post or page, it’s going to reappear. Every time. It looks like this:

Sticking around the Newspack Ads plugin

One common complaint of online publishers is the number of different interfaces they have to navigate to get things done. We’re simplifying that, such as the ability to send a Newsletter from Mailchimp without leaving Newspack.

We’re finishing a similar feature that connects Newspack with Google Ad Manager, letting you do nearly everything from within Newspack. Already, you can create an ad unit in Newspack and it will be created in Ad Manager. You also can set key-value targets for the ad units now. Your TAM can set you up with the new connection, but we encourage you to wait a few more weeks for further features to make your life easier. Those will include staying in Newspack to add creatives, and to schedule orders and line items.

Again, if you’re cruising along fine with your current ad setup and don’t plan new ad-unit sizes in the next month, you won’t see much of a difference if you switch now. How do you know if you’re on the “old” connection between Newspack and Ad Manager? You’re now seeing these notices.

Your ads are still working and being served normally, and there’s no need to be concerned. They’re just little nudges to be aware of the coming availability of all these new features.

You can now install Gravity Forms with quizzes and polls — and Newspack is picking up the tab

Our preferred solution for forms is now Gravity Forms. You can still use Jetpack Forms for simple stuff, but you’ll be able to do much more if you switch.

We’ve negotiated on your behalf and now have a group license available, and your cost is covered by your current monthly Newspack fee. Your TAM can give you guidance on how to set it up and install add-ons.

If you already have Gravity Forms, we can help you swap it out for our license. And if you’re using another plugin for forms, please consider making the move.

Gravity Forms has tons of useful documentation on their site, such as creating new formsadding a form to a page or post and setting up notifications. If you prefer tutorials, they’ve got those too. The dizzying array of add-ons include surveys, quizzes and polls.

Newspack is growing to serve you better

Edward Carrasco joins the Newspack team as a software engineer.

He considers himself a technology veteran who’s career started at the ground level as a Quality Assurance Analyst. From there he transitioned to the role of a Technical/Business Analyst, taking business requirements and translating them to technical specifications.

Years into this trajectory, he discovered his true passion was Software Development, which he learned in his spare time.

Before Automattic, he created custom web, data, and systemic applications

for a company called Reorg Research.

He loves writing, photography, music, traveling, The Office, and Sci-Fi!

Several publishers on the Newspack platform bring home the hardware from the INN awards

Our friends at the Institute for Nonprofit News announced the winners in their inaugural awards, and some familiar names and faces were there. You can see remarks from the judges and the full list of winners here.

Mukhtar M. Ibrahim, founder, editor and executive director of Sahan Journal, was named INN’s Emerging Leader. This award recognizes an individual with fewer than five years in executive leadership who is building a sustainable news organization.

Honorable mention:

  • Tasneem Raja, editor-in-chief of The Oaklandside

Oklahoma Watch won the Insight Award for Explanatory Journalism for medium-sized publications. ‘God, Please Keep Us Safe’: Amid COVID, an Oklahoma Nursing Home Faces Impossible Decisions.

Honorable mentions:

MLK50 won Breaking Barriers Award for reporting that brought new understanding to an issue or topic affecting people or communities that are historically underrepresented, disadvantaged or marginalized, resulting in impactful change. How a Black community fought a pipeline developer – and won.

Honorable mentions:

The Beacon won the Community Champion award for medium-sized publishers, which honors an organization that made a significant contribution to the well-being of its community through a journalism-centered project or service. Helping Kansas Citians vote safely in a pandemic.

Honorable mentions:

The Oaklandside won the Game-Changer Award, for an organization that produced an innovative idea or practice that led to success in revenue, audience growth or sustainable financial support of news.  Mission Metrics

Honorable mentions in other categories

A hearty congratulations to all of our colleagues! We’re humbled to play a part in your work.

SmartNews leaders explain aggregation benefits

Our Tuesday call among publishers and developers featured a presentation form SmartNews, an aggregation service. Watch the Zoom call on demand here.

SmartNews bills itself as a journalism- and publisher-friendly aggregator that drives both top of funnel traffic and mid-funnel engagement. Founded in Japan seven years ago, they entered the U.S. market in a serious way a couple of years ago and have been holding their own against larger aggregators.

They have lately been focused on doing a better job of surfacing local news. They prefer to display publisher content natively in their app because of speed and engagement considerations, but in those cases give you 100 percent share of revenue and provide a number of positions to link back to your site.

They are one of several news aggregators we’ll be featuring on the weekly call this fall, including Apple News and MSN.

Up next week is Laura E. Davis founder of Stylebot, speaking about how to get your whole team using your style guide.

Stylebot integrates into Slack or Microsoft Teams and can answer writing and editing questions on demand. It saves everyone time with its instant, easy-to-digest responses, and it allows newsroom leaders to distribute guidance and style reminders without asking anyone to open a new tab, email or document.

Stylebot’s style guide is constantly evolving based on users’ needs, and you can order a custom version of Stylebot with a discount for Newspack publishers.

Join us Tuesday, Oct. 19, at 5 p.m. Eastern in this Zoom room

123rd Newspack newsroom launched

Congratulations to newsroom leaders on your launches in the past week:

As always, you can see the gallery of launched Newspack sites here.

Get our regularly scheduled meetings on your calendar with a couple of clicks

We have a Zoom call each Tuesday to which all publishers and their staffs are invited. The time alternates by week in an effort to accommodate publishers in various time zones.

Click the link here to add the late call, set for 5 p.m. Eastern

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And this one is for the 11 a.m. Eastern call on opposite weeks

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We also hold a 30-minute How To session each Friday at 11 a.m. Eastern. We offer a quick look at one topic, block, feature or other useful maneuver. You can see how these work by going here for or small-but-growing library of videos. The password is ilovenews

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