How Zero Click Affects SEO

Posted by:

Search engine optimization (SEO) has been considered one of the most important digital marketing aspects to invest in, regardless of business or industry. When it comes to online traffic, being able to find yourself listed high in a search is what the main source of views, and those views often translate to dollars.

For the magazine industry, SEO is even more pivotal than most cases though. With the argument over print’s ability to compete with digital, a lot of publishers put their marketing eggs in the online basket they rely on SEO to generate readership and give value to online advertisement spaces.

Without decent listing and clicks, the digital traffic for magazines would be greatly hampered, and that’s not good when many feel print is questionable (though there is plenty of evidence to speak otherwise, available in our other blog posts).

Google’s newest functionality and optimization have started to lean in a different direction. Paid searches, quick snippets, and other instantaneous results have caused the majority of searches to result in zero clicks, equaling 55% of all Google clicks as of last month. This is the first time in 20 years that Google searches favor no-click searches.

In the words of a Sparktoro employee, who recently wrote a report on the situation, this is done to promote those who implement paid Google services and to help keep searchers within Google’s platforms, and not directing searchers to your content. He stated that “We’ve passed a milestone in Google’s evolution from search engine to walled-garden.” an example of a walled-garden is Facebook, they display snippets or brief content on your feeds/story that give clear information without the reader needing to fully access your content, thus keeping the reader within its walls. Sparktoro is a software company focused on audience intelligence resources, and with great expertise in search engine culture.

Online-only content producers, like Buzzfeed, who cover content in almost every facet on a localized and more general scale, are pulling traffic and searches away from content where newspapers and magazines were the primary source. They are also the likely entities that use Google’s paid features or would produce the content snippets that produce zero click searches. Publishers not helming massively powerful and notable publications cannot compete with that kind of digital power and influence.

The solution to the problem is easier than you would think. Big, super-digital companies are going to own the paid spots, but the fact stands that zero-click searches are still searches for information, and it is simply a matter of keeping pace with search engine optimization and Google’s system to stay in the game. It used to be just about meta-data and search rankings, but the game has evolved. Now snippets, audio clips, video views, and other content plays a role too.

Publishers simply need to diversify content and publish it to meet the most current SEO standards possible. Afterall, no one is better at producing content built for multiple media than publishers that are leveraging print, online, and digital to reach their audiences. Do what you do best, just do it with the intention of informing your audiences and appeasing Google.

Further Information

To learn more about Google’s “zero click” searches, click here. For more information on the details of low clicks on searches and why in general, click here. To see the Sparktoro report on the situation, click here.

If you would like more great content from Publication Printers and the Publication Printers Marketing Group, click here.

0

The Economist and Newsletters

Posted by:

Newsletters are a unique form of communication, and one publishers should never overlook. Whether print or digital, newsletters function just like a magazine or newspaper; they have a circulation audience, seek to inform, and are delivered in timely intervals. In a way, it is a natural extension of a publisher’s strategy to incorporate newsletters, and it comes with several perks. A perfect case study proving this is The Economist.

In the last year, The Economist has doubled the normal amount of web traffic it sees from newsletters through updates in design and content strategies. This has led to increased profit margins, better numbers on the website, and additional subscribers to the publication itself. It is through actions and campaigns like their updated newsletters that The Economist manages to make more off subscription sales than advertising (a huge rarity in today’s age).

According to their 2019 annual report, The Economist netted $333 million this past year, of which 59% came from subscriptions and circulation to their 1.7 million subscribers (print and digital). Only 17% of that $333 million came from advertising, and that is a 3% drop from the previous year.

Now we know newsletters are a part of their success, but this is The Economist, who has a massive following, staff, and budget. Is this translatable to niche publishers or regional publishers, who have much smaller pools of resources and spending? YES. The Economist’s newsletters are not an asset and profit generator because they are backed by the robust power wielded by the publication, but because the process and approach are effective, and that approach can be replicated and borrowed by any publisher.

The Economist’s newsletter editor, Sunnie Huang, was quoted last year saying “Almost every week there are some sort of experiments going on. They could be as small as testing different image sizes or as drastic as overhauling the format of the newsletter. Every week we learn something new about our audience and grow as a team.”

Huang’s words are just a glimpse into the overall strategy behind The Economist’s newsletters, but this little glimpse says a ton. First and foremost, the newsletter has an editor, someone who manages its content in the same way there are editors for newspapers and magazines. The newsletter, to them, is a standalone piece that serves the needs of the reader, not just a reiteration of another publication’s content. Second, it is clear that they treat newsletters as a way to engage and deepen the relationship with the reader, not just a way to increase reach.

During the same interview where Huang gave the previous quote, she also delved much deeper into the nuances of how they approached the creation of the newsletter, and how they deliver it. They implemented UX (user experience) design to create the newsletter to fit their audience, not just look branded or clean. They also developed test campaigns to measure pain points for readers, how to resolve them, and even address the specific content requests and preferences that their audience had for newsletters (and they were different from The Economist’s magazine preferences). Even headlines are calculated to match the most frequently-used platforms of consumption.

The results of the stated efforts and the many others that are not stated: an entirely new pool of readers that receive the content that is perfect for them, and that pool of readers is 1.4x more likely to subscribe to The Economist’s full magazine than the average, interested reader who is not a newsletter subscriber. It also provides another touchpoint for those that are already subscribed, providing unique content and approaches that differ from the main publication. This means more engagement with your audience, and that increases the likelihood or re-subscription.

The Economist’s efforts in newsletters, along with efforts in other digital and print venues, can all be summed up with a simple quote from their Head of Produce, Denise Law: The idea is to bring a new culture of becoming a subscriber-first publication … We’re not just making money from eyeballs, but growing reader revenue.”

Further Information

To learn more about The Economist’s newsletter process and related interviews, click here. To see The Economist’s annual report, click here. For more information on the benefits of newsletters for publishers, click here.

If you would like more great content from Publication Printers and the Publication Printers Marketing Group, click here.

0

QR Codes for Publishers

Posted by:

Publishers have been looking to maximize mobile and web for the better part of 3 decades, searching for ways to drive engagement quickly and easily from print readers. Who would have thought that one of the earliest solutions to the problem would still be a leader 25 years later: the QR (quick response) code?

Essentially a variation of a barcode, QR codes are now all over the world, used in everything from manufacture inventory to advertisement. Almost every phone is now automatically programmed to read them too.

So anyone with a smart phone can read a barcode. What does that mean for a publisher creating print content? The answer: you can drive someone from a static page to interactive media, turning a reader into an action-taker online in seconds, and you can even turn a profit from it!

1. Enhance your print content with digital, complementary content

Print publications have a number of limitations, from column inches and content-advertisement balance to page count. This means that a lot of great content gets cut from a story before it reaches the final publication. On top of that, there is a lot of story-related media that cannot go into print, like an interview recording or video footage of an event. With QR codes, a publisher can allow a reader to instantly gain access to all the story that did not make the print publication.

2. Generate results from print Calls-to-Action that are easy to track

Calls-to-action in print are very hard to track. A retailer drops $1000 on a full-page print ad promoting a promo code or exclusive sale, and how many walk into the store and buy? Unless you are doing some very complex technological tracking and collecting a massive amount of data, the answer is probably “I don’t know.” With QR codes, you can drive the reader directly to the called action, and instantly gather a lot of information. The reader gets what they want quickly, and you or the advertiser can know the actual results of the campaign.

3. Increase exposure and the chance of purchase

Due to the ease of scanning QR codes, it is easy to lead a reader from a print story or an ad talking about a product or service to the purchase page. No more hoping the reader follows a multi-step funnel to eventually convert. Just send the reader directly to what they want. The easier the process is for them, the more sales are likely to come.

4. Build “Likes” and “Leads” quickly and easily

Social media is a difficult medium for publishers, mainly because the pace of the user is faster than the content creation of a publisher, and everyone is consuming multiple things at the same time. That said, if a publisher could easily tie their print audience into the social media audience, this issue could be solved. QR codes make that possible by giving readers of a print magazine easy access to like a page, comment on or share a post, fill out a form, or any number of other quick actions that connect the person to the publisher’s digital presence while also driving engagement with the print.

BONUS: Brand QR codes to fit your colors, style, and needs

The original design of the QR code was not meant to be pretty, but instead, functional and easy for a scanner to read. Technology has come a long ways since then. QR codes no longer have to be a square, black and white, unbranded code. With a savvy designer, it is easy to make a QR code into its own branded ad tailored for the publisher, advertiser, or just personalized in general. Also, the options for what happens when you scan a QR code are now vast as there are more customization options. Do some research and figure out what you want to use it for, and make it happen!

If you need help with QR codes, or need someone to help create your branded QR code, feel free to contact us at sales@myppmg.com. We can help!

Further Information

To learn more about QR codes, their history, and how they work, click here. For more information regarding the use of QR codes for magazines and newspapers, click here.

If you would like more great content from Publication Printers and the Publication Printers Marketing Group, click here.

0

Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Publishers: Getting More by Doing Less

Posted by:

Artificial Intelligence, or AI, has a novel sense of fear around it. Science fiction for decades has created this idea that AI leads to robots taking over the world, but the reality of AI is quite different. Rather than sentient machines, AI is actually a programmatic tool. You tell it what to do and set the parameters, and it does the work for you.

For most magazine publishers, this can be an incredibly useful tool to leverage and provide in-house improvements. Small staffs and limited time strap a lot of publications from thriving. Artificial Intelligence has the means to take a lot of the remedial work out of the equation. It can be used to measure search engine optimization (SEO) and improve search rankings. It also can generate feeds of relevant articles or quotations from the internet to fact check and leverage for editorial. Further, AI allows a publisher to distribute digital content on the right channels at the audiences’ preferred times.

Artificial Intelligence also provides publishers with another valuable result: improved engagement and ROI. A recent study by Blueshift, entitled “ROI of AI Marketing: 4 Levers for Cross-Channel Success,” showed that AI-driven marketing was leading to higher engagement rates and ROI. Some specific metrics from the study include:

  • Algorithms improvements from Artificial Intelligence average a 28% lift in subscription upgrades and form fills.
  • Artificial Intelligence content recommendations average a 200%+ lift for email engagement.
  • Artificial Intelligence time optimizations average a 400%+ lift for mobile push engagement.

This study is one of many supporting the capabilities of Artificial Intelligence, not just for publishers, but across any number of industries. In fact, AI has become an entire industry in itself, focused on improving processes for online and offline work. As stated earlier, AI is something to be used to increase output, effectiveness, engagement, and return, not to be feared.

Further Information

To see the results of a recent AI study on marketing and engagement, click hereTo learn more about how AI is reshaping the pressrooms for digital publications, click here.

If you want more great content from Publication Printers, click here.

0