Are Your Subscribers Loyal to Your Brand?

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The concept of a “loyal reader” has always been an important metric for magazines and newspapers. However, what actually constitutes a loyal reader, and how many loyal readers are really normal for a publication?

There are several different definitions for a loyal reader, most of which focus around the idea of a reader that comes back for more content, and is presumably consuming content due to the consistent exposure. The issue with these types of definitions is that it relegates a publication’s readership to a statistic; the loyalty of the audience is based solely on web traffic events or purchase consistency.

In more recent years, a particular metric has become easier to track, and it is much more telling of loyalty: engagement. Engagement is still a complicated thing to measure, as it involves tracking a lot of different outlets and types of connection with content, but it is a more accurate measure of a reader’s loyalty.

With this new, more realistic definition of a loyal reader in mind, it brings up an important question for publishers: are your subscribers loyal to your brand? In order to measure that, it is important to understand more about engagement and what it means in regards to subscription.

First, exposure to content does not mean that content is being consumed, so a subscriber is not inherently a loyal reader. However, subscribers do have more exposure to content due to their higher grade of access, and they have opted in. That is why measuring who engages, whether they are a subscriber or not, is important.

Second, habitual engagement, where a reader engages with new content as it is released, shows consistent connection to the publisher, and actually confirms that their frequent exposure results in something. If that reader is a subscriber, then they would qualify as loyal. If they are not yet subscribed, then they are a representation of who that publisher should be targeting.

Tracking engagement is a process that takes time and effort, and sometimes additional support or costs to do properly. With that kind of spend, what does a publisher get in return for being able to measure the percentage of loyal readers amongst their subscriber base?

Content Insights, a professional organization specializing in data collection and analysis, recently aggregated data on readership loyalty based on engagement as part of a study, which was a first in the content analytics industry. Their research covered data from 10 different publications over the course of a month, and the data was quite surprising.

  • Only 3.8% of readers qualified as “loyal” based on the habitual engagement definition.
  • In comparison to “ordinary” readers, “loyal” readers consumed an average of 5x more content.
  • “Loyal” readers averaged 4x the web visits of “ordinary” readers, and in each visit consumed 29% more content in general, and read an average of 14% more text on singular articles.

The Content Insights study also elaborates on this data with some real-world scenarios that show the major impact that loyal readers have in comparison to ordinary readers. For example, the ratio of articles read per visit (loyal: ordinary readers) is approximately 5.5:1 and the ratio of visits per month is 3.5:1.

When you take all of this data into account, loyal readers are shown to consume and engage with up to 19 articles for every 1 article by an ordinary reader.

Take this back to a publisher’s subscriber base. If a publisher can find out what drives higher loyalty from their subscribers, that will translate into knowing what content has better engagement, what topics generate more interest, and what outlets garner the highest amount of engagement. In general, knowing what drives loyalty greatly impacts the ability to drive revenue.

Also, as a last note, literal revenue generation can come from better understanding loyalty. If a publisher can find unsubscribed readers who have the potential to become loyal, based on their engagement, there is a great opportunity to increase subscriptions and also increase the percentage of loyal readers amongst the subscriber base.

Further Information:

To learn more about the study on reader engagement by Content Insights, click here. For more information about Content Insights in general, click here.

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

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9 Types of “Digital” Publishers Can Monetize

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Print is not going anywhere! Publishers have had advertisements in their titles long enough to prove that ad profits mostly come from print. In today’s market, where ads are how publishers make their margins, print needs to be the focus. That said, making additional revenue by incorporating digital is key in today’s blended media market.

Digital content is versatile. First, digital allows publishers to create more editorial and imagery. Second, publishers can use digital to help drive subscriptions and distribution. Lastly, publishers can incorporate new types of content. However, most publishers are still skeptical about digital because their focus is print. Publishers feel they have to sacrifice time, energy, and money from print to make digital feasible.

So how can publishers feel more comfortable dedicating time, energy, and money into a digital strategy? The best way is to look at how other publishers are monetizing digital successfully. Each publisher may be unique, but trends and concepts cross over the entire market, and there are plenty of publishers marrying print and digital well. These 9 types of digital are tried and true examples of this.

A. Website Related “Digital”

1. Digital Editions

Digital editions provide instantaneous access to the printed content through mobile and electronic devices. For that ease of access, publishers can easily apply a premium or upsell existing subscriptions. Also, the final print file and the file for a digital edition can be identical. Publishers upload their file, add additional links, pages, or other added media, and a digital edition is ready in as fast as 5 minutes.

Great example: 805 Living

2. Paywalls and Web Gates

Not every publication uses a paid content or subscription model for their print titles. That does not mean the digital content has to follow that same model. Websites provide ease of access and the opportunity to include additional content. That ease and extra content extend beyond the traditional offerings of a print publication, so charging for that luxury is normal. A publisher could use digital subscriptions or micro-transactions to monetize accessing exactly what the reader wants.

Great example: Albuquerque the Magazine

3. Applications

Applications combine the best of a website and digital edition, and are customized for a mobile device. It offers the ideal delivery of all content by a publisher to their audience. Apps deliver all formats of content, ads, and notifications in a controlled and branded environment. Apps also deliver in a free, freemium (it is free for some features but paid for others), or paid (costs money to download or has a monthly subscription) capacity, based on the publisher’s choice.

Great example: National Geographic

B. Connection-Related “Digital”

4. Social Media

Originally designed for recreational connection online, social media platforms have become the largest hubs of online traffic. They are the place with the largest amount of content consumption in the world. That means publishers should be using social media. Distribution of content is the obvious use, linking to the website and original editorial. The other option is to actually sell ad space on social. Creating posts for advertisers is very similar to selling sponsored content. Another option is selling ads on social media ad networks. These ads are not limited to social media, but can extend across the internet to find the relevant audience. Also, since these ads do not show up as a post, a publisher’s editorial posting is not muddled by ads.

Great example: BUILD Magazine – Big Sky

5. Email

Emails are still highly effective, and email platforms are easy to monetize and make profitable. Emails also are versatile (birthdays, holidays, events, special sales, etc.). If a publisher is doing subscriptions with email part of their required information, it is easy to build an initial mailing list. For monetization, it is easy to sell sponsorships of newsletters, put ads in a sidebar of an email, and use email to distribute offers and calls-to-action.

Great example: 5280 Magazine

C. Content-Related “Digital”

6. Video Content

As an alternative content format, video is one of the more-easily monetized forms of digital. Videos can supplement a print or web story. They can provide exclusive, additional content (upsold if done well). They can be used for education in the form of “how-to” videos. Also, they can be used as ads or promotional content. Publishers can even curate 3rd-party video related to their audience or stories, skipping the cost of making video content altogether.

Great example: Thrasher Magazine

7. Podcasts

Like video, podcasts are another type of content to leverage. On a podcast, everything is pre-recorded, giving publishers full editorial control. Podcasts are also streamable online or downloadable for offline consumption. They are affordable to produce, averaging $200 an episode. They are also easy to upsell to advertisers for two reasons. First, audio ads, like radio, get a lot of attention. Second, publishers can sell to an advertiser the option of being the podcast story; the publisher interviews the advertiser and lets them promote themselves.

Great example: Discover Magazine

8. Sponsored Content

Thought leaders, influencers, and other content generators are everywhere and seeking opportunities to be published. Externally-produced content can be tailored to any audience upon request. Also, publishers can sell sponsored content spaces for “advertorial” purposes. The sponsor would pay to have their promotional copy included amongst the editorial content. Publishers publish it for a profit.

Great example: GPS World and North Coast Media

9. Augmented Reality

Whoever said print itself does not have the power to be digital is wrong. Augmented reality provides the ability to turn any print publication into a multimedia powerhouse by overlaying other content formats (video, podcasts, imagery, etc.) over the print. It is invisible to the eye, but with a mobile device, all that additional content comes to life. The easiest way to monetize it is to sell it to an advertiser. Now the print ad can link to a website, direct straight to online products, or have virtual tours and examples. Publishers can also use it to provide additional content that could not fit in the print.

Great example: USA Today

Further Information

For more information on how publishers can monetize digital, click here and here.

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

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