And the chest was difficult to open: what Yandex.Zen hides

And the chest was difficult to open: what Yandex.Zen hides

Why is yawning contagious? Why are most people on the planet right-handed? Is there life in the universe? There are a million questions in the world that science cannot give precise answers. I propose to add one more question to this “top of the unknown”: how does the Yandex Zen algorithm work?

Yandex.Zen is a platform that generates a feed of publications based on user preferences. It appeared in May 2017, and since then has haunted the minds of mankind. Some are trying to make money on content creation, others are trying to develop their channel in order to drive additional traffic to the site, and still others sincerely believe in the theory: reader → subscriber → client.

There are many lucky ones who managed to achieve their goal, but most Zen authors shed tears, raise their eyes to the sky and ask a dumb question: the channel, how to pump you? To be honest, I also belonged to a group of worshipers (and still do), but thanks to weekly testing and tips from Zen. Mondays, I managed to understand some of the tricks of the platform. I can’t help but share. =)

And Karma will overtake you

We have already written about how to add a site to Yandex.Zen and get a spike in traffic growth. And if you just want to generate high-quality content and bring good, clean, light to the masses, then don’t even bother with the system’s algorithms. Create narratives / articles, be creative and be happy. =)

But if you have a goal: monetization, customer search or additional traffic to the site, then you have to face the internal Zen tool with the vociferous name Karma.

Karma serves as a kind of metric for assessing the success of the channel. It is based on several components:

  • originality;
  • quality;
  • audience engagement;
  • channel development;
  • influence.

I’ll tell you about each of the criteria a little later, but for now, about the very essence of the instrument. Karma does not affect the ranking of posts, nor the number of views, nor the click-through rate. It just helps authors to become better, to find out which of the indicators falls, and also to understand: are your materials interesting to readers, have you acquired new subscribers in a week, are you sharing your publications on social networks.

Karma is updated once a week, on Mondays, at 12:00 Moscow time. The tool looks like this:

For those who do not reach at least 70 points, it makes them sad, forcing them to work harder on the channel. And those who reach the cherished mark will receive encouragement.

Plus in karma: Zen bonuses

For authors with good Karma, Yandex.Zen gives bonus impressions, which can then be spent on promoting publications. To promote even one story, you need 10,000 points. The accrual system looks like this:

Bonus impressions in Yandex.  Zen

Accordingly, the higher the Karma of your channel, the more bonus impressions you will receive. They are updated along with Karma weekly and are summed up with those that you earned earlier. Even if Karma is zero or you get a Zen penalty, your bonus impressions will stay with you.

High Karma in Yandex Zen

We will tell you about promoting your publication using bonus impressions in one of the following articles.

How to get the coveted points?

The answer will be trivially simple: work on your channel, paying attention to each Karma indicator. I warn you, sometimes you will have to dance with a tambourine, call the Lord of Light and learn circus tricks, because, alas, it is impossible to predict whether this or that publication will come to the audience.

So, 5 criteria for a channel’s success:

  • Originality. We’ll have to brainstorm with colleagues and come up with something like that. Users are capricious people and will not open material with a template title or the hackneyed topic “How to choose a mattress”. So, creative, catchy headlines are your best helpers.
  • Quality. Agree, the criterion is very subjective. Zen understands quality as unique content and values ​​original (non-stock) illustrations and creativity in working with materials very highly. It has been empirically verified that Zen comrade is much more loyal to texts with 100% uniqueness according to TEXT.RU than to content that is already “surfing the Internet”.
  • Audience engagement. This criterion depends entirely on the loyalty of your audience. If she happily reads your articles / narratives to the end, likes and writes comments, then you are guaranteed a good rating. If this criterion falls, then you need to work more carefully on the materials in order to hook users.
  • Channel development. Perhaps the most understandable indicator. The frequency of publications and the growth of subscribers are taken into account. In our channel, we publish 3 articles per week, this allows us to keep at the level of 15-17 points.
  • Influence. Good content is shared, discussed, and influences user decisions and actions. This is the opinion of the Zen developers. Therefore, the more often your publications will be repost and mentioned on third-party resources, the more influential your channel will become.

You can track changes in the “Statistics” of the platform. There you will see how many people liked your post, what percentage of readability, reach, CTR, and average viewing time.

Yandex.Dzene publications statistics

Is it possible to influence these indicators? Zen developers assure that yes, and give the following advice.

What affects impressions

  • The presence of the required audience on the service. That is, users who will definitely be interested in your publications.
  • Old readers. The accumulated active “baggage” of readers who are already subscribed to your channel and continue to read / like / comment on your materials.
  • Trends. If the topics covered by you are topical, relevant and interesting to users, then the coverage will be higher.
  • Clicks, reads, likes. The impression criterion is closely related to other metrics.
  • Working with the audience with comments. Zen strives for communication, so it often displays publications in the recommendations, where all comments are processed and feedback from the author is given.

What will make the reader click

  • Publication appearance. Aesthetics is aesthetics: the more attractive the cover of your material, the sharper the headline, the higher the chance that curiosity will prevail over the reader.
  • The accuracy of the algorithm. All you have to do is cross your fingers and hope that the machine will like your material.
  • Environment. The article / narrative always ranks on a par with your competitors. And if their publications are designed brighter and more hype, then there is a risk that your card will be left without proper attention.

What affects readings and likes

  • The ability to retain the audience. Writing is easy, interesting and dynamic – a real talent, but this skill can be mastered.
  • The presence of illustrations and gifs. It is very difficult to master a huge sheet of text without visual effects. Therefore, take care of the eyesight of your readers and be sure to dilute even the most fascinating article in the world with pictures. =)
  • Reasonable alternation of pictures and text. And vice versa: if the publication consists exclusively of photographs, it will not carry any semantic meaning for the user. Therefore, it will not be possible to squeeze the benefit out of the material.

We pumped, pumped and finally pumped

With the advent of Karma, my task was to accumulate the cherished 10,000 points. I will say right away that it was not easy: it took more than six months to develop the channel. More precisely, 6 months of testing, failures, hitting the keyboard and meditating. Perhaps you will cope with the task faster, and our rake will help you not to make stupid mistakes. =) So what has been done.

Collection of subscribers

To recruit an interested audience, different methods were used: an appeal in the mailing list, in the official VK group and on the personal page.

Call in the newsletter to subscribe to our channel in Zen

Call in VK to subscribe to our channel in Zen

Call in VK to subscribe to our channel in Zen

In December, we launched a cool interactive quest, where one of the tasks was to subscribe to our channel. The coveted 500 participants appeared when the promotion was over.

The call in the quest to subscribe to our channel in Zen

Creation of publications

To maintain activity, the format of narratives and articles was also involved. Three materials were released per week: two narratives and one article. This is how they look:

Yandex.Dzene narrative

Yandex Zen article

Tracking statistics

Some topics came up with a bang, others barely reached 10-15 views. Based on the reaction of users, it was necessary to adjust the content plan. As a result, we found out that our audience is interested in publications about internet marketing, SMM, sales and design. Here are the top 5 topics that did great:

  1. 5 online stores America is crazy about (10,582 feed impressions, 266 reads).
  2. 5 popular myths about SMM (6984 feed impressions, 196 reads).
  3. 7 awesome ad campaigns that received huge viral reach (3932 feed impressions, 180 reads).
  4. I’m sorry, goodbye: 5 reasons why customers are leaving you (24,446 feed impressions, 151 reads).
  5. Low-budget ways to promote your site (5950 feed impressions, 149 reads).

Not to say that these are wow numbers, but these indicators are quite enough to keep Karma within 60-80 points.

I will be honest to the end and present the anti-top, that is, the top five materials that did not go to our Yandex.Dzen at all. Just don’t laugh!

  1. Site traffic: what it is and how to study it (39 impressions, 2 reads).
  2. Test Your Community: Facebook Business Page Audit (188 feed impressions, 3 reads).
  3. Sold: how to evaluate the benefits of text on a website (8453 feed impressions, 5 reads).
  4. Not by email alone: ​​a few words about push notifications (2295 impressions in the feed, 10 reads).
  5. An attraction of unprecedented generosity: 6 ideas for promotions on the site (3006 impressions in the feed, 11 reads).

It is difficult to say what the reason for the failure is – in the topic, title, tags or submission, but the fact remains that these publications were not liked. = (

Six months ago, I would have finished this article, wrote some motivational phrase and went to drink tea. But in March 2019 Yandex.Zen rolled out a new update, which cannot be passed by. Meet – Alpha Centauri.

Star by name The sun Alpha Centauri

The new algorithm is already in full swing and pleases (we hope!) The authors of Yandex.Dzen. Improved technology allows Zen to tailor publications to users more accurately and much faster than ever before. At the same time, now high-quality materials receive much greater coverage, and therefore, special attention from users. If you haven’t started a channel on Yandex Zen, now is the perfect time to start: the platform is especially loyal to newcomers.

By the way, we rated the work of the new algorithm at 5 points out of 5. Look at the reach and the number of readings before the update.

Tape before the introduction of Alpha Centauri

And here are the changes that took place when Alpha Centauri illuminated the platform. Not a bad change, isn’t it? =)

Tape after the introduction of Alpha Centauri

What is the secret of the algorithm

Alpha Centauri Is the closest triple star system to Earth, so the name of the update shouldn’t be surprising. Firstly, Yandex is still a fan of the space theme, and, secondly, the algorithm has three significant changes. Guess what they were named? That’s right, A, B and “Proxima” – in honor of the stars that make up the Alpha Centauri system.

Update A – a real meteor. In a split second, the technology finds thematic content for users, comparing millions of publications with each other.

Update B knows what a particular user needs. It takes into account not only your preferences, but also the preferences of readers who are similar to you.

Proxima update is committed to high-quality content. The technology makes sure that current news does not draw all the attention to itself, leaving in the shadows publications that may be of interest to you.

And in the end I will tell

Yandex.Zen is a site worthy of attention. And despite the “information trash”, there are a lot of really cool materials: articles, narratives, instructions and tests. And I would like to hope that in 6-12 months only useful publications will appear in the personal feed.

I sincerely wish everyone successful promotion in Yandex.Dzen, and if you subscribe to our channel, I will also mentally hug you. =)

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