NEW YORK, July 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- In May, some 30 million people visited Upworthy, the sharing network that uses data-driven social media to draw attention to topics that matter. The milestone illustrates the strong, sustained growth being seen by the 14-month-old company across all key metrics:
- Dwell time (the length of time the average user spends on the site) now exceeds six minutes. In May, the average dwell time peaked at 7:17.
- Subscriber growth continues to rise, passing three million in May. Email subscribers now top 1.1 million, Facebook fans now top 2.1 million, and Upworthy has 120,000 followers on twitter.
- At two million, the company now has more Facebook fans than many well-established media companies. Also, according to Facebook, roughly two-thirds of the U.S. population has a friend who is connected to Upworthy.
"Upworthy is the single most socially optimized site we've seen," said Edward Kim, CEO of social-action measurement pioneer SimpleReach, whose clients include Time, Entertainment Weekly, and Forbes. "We track 5,000 publishers, and Upworthy content accounts for some 20% of all recorded social actions we measure. Their posts rank in the top 1% consistently — Upworthy is just a remarkable media network."
Upworthy.com has recently been called the fastest-growing media site of all time, was cited by Facebook as a model for telling compelling stories on their platform, and topped Time Magazine's recent list of its 50 Favorite Web sites.
"The best part for us is that the videos driving this insane growth are all deeply meaningful — they're about cancer, domestic abuse, gay identity, body image, fracking," said Upworthy co-founder Peter Koechley. "We believe the really important things in the world need better marketing — that if we put in a little effort to make meaningful things intriguing, tens of millions of people actually do care about them. But honestly, even we are surprised we're seeing this much growth so quickly."
According to data from Web site ranking firm Quantcast, Upworthy's 30 million unique visitors in May topped the traffic of several major-media sites, including Hulu.com, People.com, Us Magazine and NBC Sports.
A new way to drive sharing
Upworthy's look-share-subscribe model for socially native content emphasizes engagement — the distribution model succeeds when tens of thousands of members of the Upworthy community choose to share content with their friends, and when those friends are compelled enough to click back to Upworthy.com. Upworthy's proprietary real-time, multi-part testing gauges whether an audience will click on a piece of content, and can improve sharing performance by well more than 180%.
"We're capturing as much of the science of viral content as possible, adding in great human curation and a point of view, and using that combination to lift up the ideas that matter most," said Upworthy co-founder Eli Pariser. "I think we're on our way -- we're seeing big gains from our data-driven tech; our curators are getting very good at finding wonderful, meaningful content; and a huge community is coming together to amplify and spread these ideas far and wide."
The May performance was fueled in part by the company's treatment of a 20-minute video telling the story of 17-year-old terminal cancer patient Zach Sobiech, who spent the end of his life making music. After being promoted by Upworthy, the video garnered more than 15 million page views, was share more than 800,000 times, was Liked more than 1.25 million times on Facebook, and contributed the vast majority of the more than 9 million completed views on YouTube. Sobiech hit Number 1 on iTunes, debuted in the top 10 Hot Digital Songs with Billboard, and the Upworthy post helped raise more than $300,000 for Sobiech's cancer research charity." Upworthy.com added 300,000 subscribers in three days.
Other pieces of high-performing content so far in 2013 include a fan's surprising conversation with actor/activist Patrick Stewart (more than 5 million page views), a video asking heterosexual people to answer a question commonly asked of LGBT community, and a remarkable video on the impact of bullying. And the company's presentation on what makes a piece of content experience a massive volume of sharing was itself a sharing phenomenon, receiving more than 260,000 views of the version embedded on SlideShare.net.
Upworthy elevates things that matter in a way that reaches millions. Every day, curators unearth and spotlight awesome, meaningful content using a proprietary testing approach that combines social science and an irresistibly shareable point of view. Co-founders Eli Pariser (of MoveOn.org) and Peter Koechley (formerly of The Onion) raised $4 million in initial financing from a group that included prominent individual investors like Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, and BuzzFeed co-founder John Johnson. Learn more at http://www.upworthy.com.