Elisa Schmitz is a serial entrepreneur who builds digital businesses and raises her family - at the same time. After starting her first website, iParenting, and selling it to Disney, she saw a shift in how people consume content online. "With the rise of mobile," she explains, "the web got even noisier, with more and more companies, apps and brands vying for your attention. I saw that busy people wanted great content that would make their lives better, but it had to respect their most precious asset: their time. My analysis shifted too; we’ve been trained by television to respond to an advertising message in 30 seconds, so why not do the same thing with great content? That’s when I decided to build a site that cuts through the clutter by inspiring busy people with empowering content in about 30 seconds - the same amount of time it takes to watch an ad on TV."
Elisa Schmitz, Founder & CEO
How Elisa got started
Why ad revenue?
How Elisa makes an impact
Elisa launched 30Seconds.com to offer engaging content that makes the world a happier, healthier place, but takes only 30 seconds to consume. What started out as a site mostly focused on quick parenting tips has grown into a digital lifestyle media company that publishes thousands of articles, recipes, travel and beauty tips, health and wellness insights, and perspectives generated by her team of about 1,000 contributors (and growing), each an expert or a "passionista" in some way. "Every day when we log into 30Seconds to see what has been submitted by our contributors and decide what to publish, it’s like going on a treasure hunt. While we follow an editorial calendar and offer great timely content, we also get delighted every day to find unique gems that you won’t find anywhere else, and I personally learn something new each day. In that way, 30Seconds is like a box of chocolates - you may never know what you’re going to get, but you know it’s always going to be good."
The site has drawn a following of millions of unique visitors per month and is rapidly growing. But as a small business owner, Elisa struggled to find the right business model. "Monetizing a business is often the hardest part," she says. "We worked on content marketing, social media marketing, affiliate revenue and even direct ad sales. But building and managing relationships with advertisers takes a lot of time and tools. From creating the sales pipeline to pitching, to implementing the ads on the site, to running the campaign, to analyzing it to determine success and proving the ROI - it’s a huge amount of work that requires a multi-person team. As a startup, we just didn’t have the resources for that."
Elisa was determined to find a solution to monetizing her site’s available ad inventory. After doing some research, she found Google AdSense. "We implemented AdSense at exactly the right time," she recalls. "I was seeing success across all other metrics in my business - content, community, contributors, audience - but the ad monetization piece wasn’t in place. So I tried AdSense and it just worked. With one line of code, we were able to start monetizing our ad inventory - no sales, execution or analysis teams needed."
Since starting to work with AdSense, 30Seconds has seen its ad revenue increase dramatically. “Within our first six months working with AdSense, we saw our revenue increase by 52%," Elisa highlights. “AdSense exceeded our expectations, we’re forecasting even greater growth ahead." The 30Seconds team has also seen major time savings. “We’re freed up to focus on what we do best: create amazing content, curate an inspiring community, and grow an engaged audience. The more we’re able to invest in growing our audience and pouring our passion into the site, the more ROI we see from our ads. I can exhale, knowing that Google’s got my back on the monetization side," Elisa shares.
With more time to focus on inspiring content and building the 30Seconds community, Elisa and her team have doubled down on their mission to "make life better." During the past year’s pandemic, her team worked with the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases and St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, among other experts, to create credible, reliable content that helps people navigate COVID health risks. And 30Seconds itself increased its mental health and wellness content to support readers throughout the crisis. "We go a step further and host live chats to engage with our readers and stay connected during these disconnected times. Community members often tell us that these touchpoints are a lifeline for them. To be able to grow and provide a community space that people use to stay in touch and support each other, especially during a challenging year, is very rewarding."