Understanding Disqus' Promoted Discovery | How Promoted Discovery Works

Recently, I had a post about the exciting features that came with Disqus’ latest update. And while I gave a brief overview of what’s new, there’s one feature in particular worthy of more discussion — promoted discovery.

What is Promoted Discovery (from a marketing perspective)?

Promoted discovery makes it possible for you to publicize your own content and earn money when users click on paid Discovery listings on your page. Thus, the benefits of participating in promoted discovery are essentially two-fold: your content is shared to a much larger audience, and you have the chance to make some ad sharing revenue (might put a dent in your advertising costs).

How Does it Work?

Before we get into the really important parts (how you promote and make money), let’s rewind a bit and explain how Discovery works.

Basically, included alongside every Disqus-powered comment feed is a Discovery Box. Within this box are recommendations for other articles and conversations the reader might enjoy (from the site they’re on and from other places on the web). Because Disqus varies the recommendations based on user behavior, everyone’s Discovery Box contains slightly different stuff. Some of the links in the Discovery Box are strictly organic while others are paid advertisements. However, neither will appear unless they legitimately match the users’ perceived interests.  The picture below is a screenshot of the Disqus comments on one of our blogs.  On the left we have related articles from our website, and on the left are results from other websites.

Disqus Paid DiscoveryUltimately, the box helps everyone: readers, publishers, and Disqus itself. Readers are able to quickly find new things of interest, publishers can circulate their content and drive traffic to their sites, and Disqus makes itself look good by keeping everything flowing within the Disqus family.

Promoting Your Content

The good news is, you don’t necessarily have to do anything for a link to your content to show up in Discovery Boxes all across the web. In other words, if your content is good, if it relates to a reader’s interests, and if it is popular, it can show up anywhere Disqus is used.

How to use Disqus

However, if you want to push things along and guarantee it will be recommended, you should consider advertising with Promoted Discovery. What’s good about advertising with Disqus is your links look natural (just like any other recommendation) and are positioned in a place where highly engaged readers flock (the comment feed).

So far, Disqus hasn’t revealed much about their advertising opportunities but promises to do so soon. For now, those who are interested are asked to email the company directly.

Making Money

As a publisher who uses Disqus, Promoted Discovery helps you make money indirectly by driving traffic to your pages and increasing your chances for sales. However, what’s especially cool is now you have the chance to earn actual cash directly from Disqus when visitors click on paid links listed in your site’s Discovery Box.

how does disqus paid discovery work?

Unfortunately, the amount of revenue shares you’ll earn isn’t exactly cut and dry. Although, you’ll earn on a “cost-per-click” basis,  Disqus says the amount is based on a “number of variables,” including click-through rate, traffic, your content, how your content aligns with what advertisers are wanting to promote, and more. Needless to say the system doesn’t seem simple, but hey, it’s free money and you don’t have to do anything extra to get it.

Diqus also gives you analytics to see how much traffic is being brought to your site through Discovery.  It also shows you how much revenue it has brought in.

Using Disqus Analytics

Publishers can receive their revenue share payments via PayPal once they’ve earned $100.

How to Have Your Content Recommended?

The Discovery Box creates huge potential for your content to reach many more people and to entice new followers. However, with so many publishers using the comment platform, how can you encourage Disqus to recommend your content over others’? Here are a few things you can do:

  • Have Great Content – This should go without saying, but if you want people to look at and share your content it has to be interesting.
  • Spark Conversations – Considering Disqus is a comment platform, it only makes sense that the program will suggest sites with active comment feeds. So, always look for ways to inspire conversations (i.e. ask questions, be controversial, respond, etc.).
  • Increase Traffic – Obviously, one of the reasons you’re using Disqus is to increase site traffic, but this doesn’t mean you should neglect other traffic-generating outlets. Disqus will assume your content is valuable if you have large numbers of visitors.
  • Good SEO Practices – Although Disqus isn’t a search engine, it’s relying on its own formulas and algorithms to determine the best content to offer internet users (very much like Google).So, all the SEO strategies you’re using to make your content appear worthwhile to Google should work equally well with Disqus. In other words, focus on getting inbound links, improving time on page, more social shares, etc.
  • Have a Specific Theme – Make sure all of your content has a specific theme. The title, keywords, and subject matter should all align. When selecting what to recommend, one of Disqus’ main deciding factors is content similarity. However, if it can’t decide what your postings are about, there’s little chance they will be promoted.

How to Get Started?

Promoted Discovery is a core feature of the New Disqus, so if you’ve already upgraded you should soon see the box (if you haven’t already) attached to your comment feed. If, for some reason, you don’t want all of the Discovery features enabled, you can customize it by clicking on the Discovery tab in the admin section. Once there, you can choose your level of participation and even filter what types of advertisers and brands show up on your page.

I think Promoted Discovery offers some great new ways to publicize your content and attract new readers (and make a little ad revenue shares to boot). At this point I fail to see any major downsides to participation. But, what’s your opinion? Are you excited about the new Discovery program?




15 Comments on “Understanding Disqus’ Promoted Discovery

  1. JMarkAfghans

    Been using it for a while now; content doesn’t really seem to relate to my blog / posts. But, perhaps, that’s due to the fact that I don’t actually have a ‘theme’ – a single subject.

    1. Roque A. Deleon

      Having the same issue. I’ve even noticed this happening on blogs with a very direct theme. I like the idea of the discovery box but for the most part the links appear spammy and completely un-targeted.

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    1. Roque A. Deleon

      Giorgos, according to Disqus it depends on a number of factors. This is straight from the FAQ

      “Promoted Discovery will only show when our targeting algorithm
      determines we have promoted content that would interest your readers. If
      this is not the case, we will instead point to interesting and relevant
      organic content that appears on external Disqus-powered sites.”

      1. Giorgos

        Thanks Roque, it took a couple of days to appear. It works fine now. The only think is that I miss the author avatars on the articles.?? I couldn’t find any setting on that.

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    We can added Disqus to our site to make it easier for you to comment and share your love of music with us! You can login to comment using your existing account on Twitter, Facebook, Google, Yahoo or Open ID.

  4. isotropic

    Since you’ve introduced your new system I’ve cut way back on the number of comments I write because, unless a user manually selects “newest,” the Discussion box comes up automatically on “best,” and unless I submit my comments within a few minutes after an article is posted, they get put way down at the bottom of page five or six or nine or ten, and no one reads them. The system really stinks because it gives top billing to the people who are being paid by political pressure groups to sit at a computer all day in a boiler room writing comments and gaming the system by voting up each others’ baloney.

  5. Online Strategies

    Disquss discovery tool is unique in many ways. I have it in my blog and now getting more contents discovered by it. I think it is a great way to bring traffic within the blog. Discovery tool configuration is simple and any blogger can make it suitable for their blogs.


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