How Apester Generated Engagement for 2018 TIME Person of the Year Reader’s Poll

Assaf Gilad

For the third year in a row, Apester, the interactive storytelling platform, partnered with TIME to poll their audience for Person of the Year.

TIME utilized Apester’s story format to engaged its readers, that affords a mobile optimized multiple frame gallery experience with custom made interactive buttons, such as “yes” and “no”.

The poll launched November 19th and ran for two and a half weeks, ending five days before TIME Magazine revealed their choice for Person of the Year. This year, readers chose from a list of 55 influencers dominating the 2018 headlines. Political leaders, extraordinary athletes, social activists and inspiring artists were among the top categories of candidates.

The results updated dynamically, allowing readers to influence and impact the standings in real time. The Person of the Year reader’s poll actively engaged readers, contributing to the following performance metrics:

Total impressions: 5.8M

Total number of votes: 2.5M

Number of social shares: over 350,000 across Twitter and Facebook

Average time spent on unit per reader: 3:30

Completion rate: 39% – higher than Instagram’s completion rates for 51-plus frames stories, which stands on 38% (source: SocialMediaToday)

Engagements per engaged user: 38 taps and swipes (including ‘next’, ‘yes’, and ‘no’)

Global Scale: 213 countries and territories participated, with the highest engagement from the United States, Thailand, South Korea, UK, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, and Brazil.


Designed with Apester Story


Percentage of total votes by influencer:



Planet Earth


Thai Cave Divers


Moon Jae-in


Undocumented Children


Michelle Obama


Mohammed bin Salman


Jair Bolsonaro


Christine Blasey Ford


Robert Mueller


Using data collected by Apester, TIME can infer how voters in varying geographies feel toward candidates. For instance, US voters favored social and political candidates including Planet Earth, Christine Blasey Ford and Colin Kaepernick, over mainstream artists such as Kanye West and Cardi B and divisive politicians including Trump and his administration, North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un, and Turkey’s Erdogan.

The organically engaging, 55-frame Story created above average monetization opportunities and yielded 3:30 additional minute on site, contributing to the overwhelming success of this year’s initiative.

While TIME editors ultimately decide who earns the Person of the Year title, the poll provides insight into how TIME readers considered who had the greatest influence last year.

As a person or group of the year, TIME staff also compiled a collective of journalists who paid a personal price for their goal. Under the collective title “The Guardians”, TIME included a list of killed, imprisoned, or targeted journalists – the most well known of which being the late Washington Post reporter Jamal Khashoggi.