Billings365 is your source for events and things to do in Billings, Montana.
Fun Fact: Billings365.com was the website project that inspired the creation of Cardsetter.
Our Co-Founder, Jessica previously owned this hyper-local blog and events website in Billings, MT.
The site is now leased and managed by the very talented content creators, Callie Keck and Kayla Wolfe. The duo has taken what started as a local events calendar and blog and grown it to a content-centric, multi-channel, local media brand.
Billings365 uses its website as the "home" of the digital brand and then extends to multiple channels including a weekly e-newsletter, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat to deliver local content to its audience wherever they are.
Before moving to Cardsetter, Billings365.com was on a hybrid Wordpress/Custom system where Wordpress powered the blog content and the events and directory listings were on a custom-built system. The site functioned okay and looked great but Jessica felt constantly restricted by her site, beholden to a web developers work queue to get any meaningful changes made. And, with mobile usage climbing, she knew she needed to give her audience a better smartphone experience.
Working with her now Co-Founder, Josh, the two identified three main things that they knew would help Billings365 perform better.
- To keep audience attention, Billings365 needed an amazing mobile-first experience with endless vertical scrolling and horizontal scrolling groupings of content. The mobile experience needed to feel intuitive, much like scrolling through a social media feed.
- To get advertisers noticed, the site needed to be able to place sponsor logos, ads, and sponsored content anywhere, similar to how Buzzfeed.com showcases their sponsors.
- So that the website would be more useful to its audience, Billings365 needed to be able to easily group related content - articles, videos and more - and place those groupings anywhere on the site. A practice seen in large publisher sites like USAToday.com or in apps like Apple News.
None of these features were possible on Billings365's old website and they were not easy or impossible to achieve with any of the existing "off the shelf" website builders and CMS's available. So, Josh and Jessica set out to create Cardsetter.
Billings365 has Grown with Cardsetter
As the first beta website on the Cardsetter platform, Billings365 has grown in its ability to serve its audience and advertisers.
With mobile traffic around 70%, Billings365 prioritizes the smartphone experience for its audience. As many of its visitors are there to see upcoming events, Billings365 allows its viewer to scroll through the homepage to see what's coming up this week, along with "featured events" (i.e., paid event listings). Interspersed amongst the event listings, Billings365 highlights other local content, often monetized with sponsorship partners.
This strategy allows the Billings365 audience to fluidly scroll through the website, much like they scroll through their favorite social media apps, discovering more content than a traditional site which often requires the reader to find content in the menu.
Billings365's sponsored content has a better chance of being noticed and read as well. As a business that runs on advertising and sponsorship revenue, it's imperative for Billings365 to get their advertisers noticed.
After switching to Cardsetter, Billings365 saw a 3x increase in ad clickthrough rates.
Billings365 groups related content to make its website more useful to its audience. It's able to quickly add new horizontal scrolling sections with related information to help its audience find relevant and timely information. For example, in August, Billings365 groups event information and other MontanaFair content in a horizontal scrolling section on their homepage (a Deck). They create a useful and timely guide for their audience and a new monetize-able section.
Billings365 provides a valuable resource to its community, allowing locals to take in all of the fun "things to do," that the small city has to offer. They help local businesses get in front of this audience as well through relevant sponsored content. Cardsetter enables Billings365 to serve both its audience and its advertisers with a more intuitive and useful ecosystem for everyone.