'Mental Floss' Updates Visuals, Goes 'Glossy'

Early this month, fun facts and trivia publisher Mental Flossunveiled a redesign of its site, modernizing and cleaning up its look and feel.

Though editor-in-chief of digital Jason English wrote in a post that there are “still a few kinks” being worked out, publisher and EVP Amie Deutch told Publishers Daily the goal was to transform Mental Floss, which “has always been flossy,” to also be “glossy."

In other words, while Mental Floss has “always been smart, now we will look good,” she said. “We are a visual brand. Pictures tell a story that words can’t. It helps discovery and it helps draw people in,” she said.

For example, the site highlighted more of its video and visuals. Mental Floss’ YouTube videos — especially those hosted and created by “The Fault in Our Stars” author John Green — were popular with readers but not front and center on the old site.

Deutch refers to the changes as an “evolution” of Mental Floss, rather than a rebrand. The brand shuttered its print edition in September after 15 years running to focus on Mental Floss’ digital presence.

While the magazine’s print circulation was around 25,000, the site brings in 16 million unique visitors and 20 million monthly users. Mental Floss’ traffic has doubled in two years, Deutch said, adding "Print is important, but not for all brands." 

“When you look at our audience of millennials and young Gen X’ers, they were all marching online. We are a young magazine brand. The challenge of magazines right now is that young people consume content digitally,” Deutch said.

The nature of Mental Floss and its content is the discovery of "timely and relevant" information, which she said is more fitting for an online platform. It was important for the revamp to make it easier for readers to discover new content across a wide variety of interesting categories, Deutch said.

Another goal for the changes was to determine how to seamlessly integrate ads with the content and “not be intrusive. The last thing we want is for people to turn on their ad-blockers,” Deutch said.

In March, Mental Floss cofounders Will Pearson and Mangesh Hattikudur announced they were leaving after 16 years at the helm to develop podcasts for HowStuffWorks.

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