About Beach Grit

Beach Grit started as a surfing magazine called Stab Derek Rielly in 2003. After almost 12 years, Derek endeavoured to create a better version of Stab, launching Beach Grit in July 2014, bringing Stab’s US-based writer Charlie Smith into the business as a founding partner. 

Today Beach Grit is now bigger from a traffic perspective than all the other surf news websites combined, and up to ten times bigger than the governing body of pro surfing, the World Surf League! “Beach Grit is authentic. He is the beating heart of what we love. The kryptonite to the wall of positive noise!” - World Surf League CEO

Beach Grit is a platform for surf news, often veering into politics and social commentary. It exists to place a libertine, centrist, moral and ideological code over surf and mainstream news, usually with a humorous, but factual bent.

Beach Grit website homepage

The Challenge

Beach Grit embarked on the process of moving from an in-house sales model for its display ads to a programmatic model. Managing Director James Prier conducted extensive research on individual demand partners for publishers, coming across Publift while looking for a monetization partner. James was looking for assistance with optimizing real-time bidding amongst a wide range of partners rather than signing on with one.

More recently, Beach Grit faced challenges with slow site-loading speeds due to its image and media-heavy content. The site experienced decreased traffic from organic sources, an increased bounce rate and reduced ad revenue from April 2020. Additionally, in the 5 months following April, Beach Grit’s articles had dropped out of Google Chrome Content Suggestions, which had been the publisher’s main source of traffic.

“The Publift team was instrumental in guiding us through the planning and implementation of improving our site speed. They leveraged their contacts within various tech companies to provide valuable insight and instructions on how we could achieve the goals needed.”

James Prier, Managing Director, Beach Grit

The Approach

Publift worked closely with Google in initiating a full assessment and site speed analysis of Beach Grit’s website. With access to Google’s new site speed tools including Core Web Vitals, Publift worked with Beach Grit and a site speed specialist from Google. Following a custom website review and web performance report outlining recommended optimizations, Beach Grit worked with Publift and Google to remove unused CSS, eliminate render blocking resources, lead ad script tags statically and review above the fold (ATF) ad layout.

The Results

In partnering with Publift, the Beach Grit business has grown beyond the restricted surf market. The traditional model of relying on niche partners to fund surf media has a number of drawbacks, specifically in relation to censorship and control of news and media published. With Publift, and without these restrictions, Beach Grit has been able to build a greater sense of trust and reliability with their audience. In partnering with Publift, Beach Grit was able to achieve a 73% uplift in impressions and 24.5% increase in revenue.

With assistance from the team at Publift and Google, Beach Grit successfully increased their site desktop Google Pagespeed Ranking by 22% to the 85th percentile on all desktop sites on Google. The changes also moved one of the 4 Core Web Vitals components (LCP) from a fail to a pass, with 3 out of 4 core web vital components moving to a pass. This resulted in an instant impact on traffic and ad revenue.

Beach Grit achieved their second highest ad revenue day ever shortly after the changes went live with an average monthly net revenue increase of 110% compared to other months in 2020. Monthly page views (vs. the months where Google Chrome Content Suggestion traffic stopped) increased by 128% and the bounce rate decreased by 54%. In addition, Beach Grit’s site speed optimization enabled the publisher’s content to be relisted in Google Chrome Content Suggestions, reinstating the publisher’s primary source of traffic. Beach Grit’s mobile site speed improvements are currently underway.

Beach Grit page RPM increase with Publift