Washington Post tries new layout system, new ad formats

by Curtis Lee Fulton

The Washington Post is already looking a hell of a lot sexier, just weeks after Jeff Bezos and the paper tied the knot. The post can already be seen gussied up in a new look, called “Topicly” that’s primed to move ads.

Featuring a Windows Metro-esque tile layout, The Post says Topicly is for “users who are interested in consuming content in a visual way.” Readers can glance at the layout and “understand the pulse of what is happening …. [by reading] a rolling 72 hour display of the most-published content.”

True to Bezos’ style, the Topicly experiment is about more than just seducing readers – the layout has a new advertising product that looks promising. A small header at the top of the page declares that Topicly is “sponsored by Land Rover.” In the second row of tiles a larger ad for Land Rover can be seen, marked as “Sponsored Topic.” The ad is the same size as one of the news tiles, adopting the inline continuity print magazines have offered for decades.

The Post says Topicly works by processing “all Post journalism – stories, blog posts, photos, videos” into “15-minute snapshots… story topics are being determined in real-time based on the content.”

The Washington Post's new Topicly layout

The Washington Post’s new Topicly layout, with an ad in the second row