business insider, bi office profile, bi, may 2012, dngClockwise, starting at left: Dylan Love, Jay Yarow, Abby Rogers, and Erin Fuchs.

Photo: Daniel Goodman / Business Insider

A couple of years ago, I revealed a lot of internal information about Business Insider–the sort of information that most companies paranoically guard for a litany of stated reasons.I said that, if nothing horrible happened, I might one day do the same thing again.

Well, nothing horrible happened.

(At least nothing I’m aware of.)

So, when FOLIO called and asked if I would be willing to share the Business Insider story in a keynote presentation at its MediaNext conference, I figured I might as well open the kimono again.

(FOLIO, after all, was kind enough to title my session: BUSINESS INSIDER: From Upstart To Powerhouse. How could I refuse a request like that?)

So, I gave the presentation this morning.

I included a whole bunch of previously secret information.

And on the theory that other folks might be interested–namely you, our readers, who make all of our success possible–I’ve published the presentation here.

There are a lot of slides, but few words, so it should be an easy flip-through.

Here are some of the secrets I revealed:

  • Business Insider’s audience continues to grow rapidly: We’re now read by 23 million unique visitors a month.
  • Five years ago, when we launched, we had about 1,000 visitors the first day. Now we regularly have more than 1 million a day.
  • The key to success in digital is producing great digital content–full stop. Not great print content. Not great broadcast content. Great digital content (which is very different). If you don’t have great digital content, nothing else matters.
  • Contrary to what you occasionally hear, “social” is not the be-all and end-all for digital news sites (in fact, the importance of “social” is grossly overstated). Business Insider readership is a healthy mix of 1) regular readers who come directly to the site, 2) readers who find stories via social and other referral links, 3) readers who find stories via search, and 4) regular readers who find stories via email, RSS feeds, and other distribution channels.
  • About 30% of our traffic is now mobile (including both tablets and smartphones.) The iPhone is the dominant mobile device used by Business Insider readers, followed by the iPad and Android devices.
  • Mobile has extended Business Insider readership to “18×7”: Readers who used to just read us in the office on weekdays now read us during their commutes and in bed. And they also read us over the weekend.
  • “Mobile First,” one of the hot memes of 2012, is actually a dumb strategy. Our readers love their big screens. And they like reading Business Insider on all screens. The smart strategy is not “mobile first,” but “mobile, too.”
  • The economics of digital cannot support the print business (so newspapers should stop hallucinating that they will). But that’s OK! Because the economics of digital CAN support the digital business.
  • Business Insider’s newsroom is vastly more productive than the newsrooms of some “hybrid” (print/broadcast/digital) companies. Our editorial team is exceptional at producing excellent digital content. As a result, we have vastly more digital readers per journalist than news organisations that specialize in other media.
  • Digital news organisations today are like CNN in the 1980s (scrappy upstarts, big hair).  But don’t forget: Major new media organisations take decades to build. In 10-20 years, digital news organisations will have 1) hundreds of millions of readers, 2) hundreds of editorial employees, and 3) hundreds of millions of revenue.

Thank you again for reading Business Insider and for helping to make our success possible. We listen closely to what you tell us, and we will keep striving to make the site better every day.

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