Advancements in technology have transformed the ways publishers acquire, engage, and retain subscribers. This has led to greater revenue opportunities and improved user experiences with content, data privacy, pricing, and ads. To keep up in the competitive digital environment, publishers need to stay on top of these tech developments. Here are six key trends to keep an eye on:
In the digital age, publishers must focus on delivering personalized content to attract and convert readers. This means customizing user experiences with the brand well before pitching products.
According to a study by Marigold advertising services, the majority of online consumers prioritize their experience with a brand over solely the price of a product. This emphasizes the need for publishers to enhance every aspect of the customer journey.
Subscription experience platforms enable publishers to provide customized contact with potential subscribers, while also ensuring data privacy. Through intelligent registration forms, for example, publishers can cleanly collect valuable zero-party data that is voluntarily provided by readers and used to deliver relevant content in meaningful ways well before a purchase.
This approach builds trust by efficiently – and transparently – gathering information about reader preferences to ensure they enjoy online experiences tailored to their needs. Publishers who use this tech to deliver targeted content and personalized experiences will increase the likelihood of converting casual readers into loyal subscribers.
Customer data platforms (CDPs) harmonize all the information a publisher collects across subscriber interactions – from articles and ads, to events and customer service insights. Technologies like predictive data analytics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning are pushing CDP capabilities even further.
Instead of relying so heavily on industry intuition or broad market research alone to understand their evolving value propositions for diverse subscriber segments, publishers can make faster decisions from the pattern and trend recognition capacities of AI and ML.
AI-driven analysis powers more holistic profiles of readers, both in real-time and over time. AI and ML can also bring together otherwise siloed data and disparate insights about subscribers for more useful – and valuable – segmentation. These capabilities ensure cleaner datasets for better marketing outcomes, and information generated by these tech tools within a CDP allows content strategists and broader marketing teams to improve their offerings and optimize revenue throughout the customer lifecycle.
Perhaps one of the most revolutionary technologies on the horizon, chatGPT holds significant potential for the media and journalism industry. Publishers are facing difficult and controversial questions: will chatGPT support or supplant journalists in their traditional content creation capacity – and what is the impact on the critical public service role of journalism across society?
Erik Archer Smith, generative AI expert and VP of marketing at Arena, suggests this binary could be false: smart publishers will identify the resource potential of chatGPT and leverage it to strengthen their unique value proposition for subscribers:
“With technology like chatGPT, you publish time-sensitive stories like company earnings, sports scores and other routine stories quickly. With those stories largely handled by AI, your lean group of experienced reporters can source unique stories that readers can’t find anywhere else [like localized investigative journalism]. The bottom line is that you can maintain or improve margins by fully leveraging chatGPT.”
This approach to content generation suggests that chatGPT can free up publishers to focus their resources on their core brand value – and especially the content offerings that make them most compelling to subscribers. It’s a smart strategy in economically uncertain times.
Beyond this, ChatGPT also empowers publishers to rapidly generate personalized product recommendations for users, as well as providing layered, responsive, and tailored customer service when subscribers want to change pricing or content access options.
Because the average consumer has between 12 to 17 media and entertainment subscriptions – and nearly 45% of users have subscriptions they completely forgot they’re paying for – it’s important for publishers to remain competitive and attractive in a saturated subscription economy.
Fortunately, subscription management tools have advanced in ways that benefit both publishers and subscribers, driving ongoing engagement. Intelligent paywalls, for instance, ensure that readers are offered the right products at the right price point. This includes opportunities for bundled subscriptions that align with changing interests.
Bundling, according to journalism researcher Damian Radcliffe, boosts revenue and customer loyalty, making it a crucial strategy for acquisition, engagement, retention…and even reactivation for hibernating subscribers.
Optimizing reader experiences, tech-savvy subscription management helps publishers meet each subscriber’s needs progressively and seamlessly.
Tech advancements now allow subscribers to find and access content across devices, contexts, and digital ecosystems. Subscribers are used to being served personalized experiences in real-time at every point of contact, no matter where they are. And publishers who remain technologically dynamic will more successfully optimize this broad range of revenue opportunities available to them.
Decentralized platforms – like LinkedIn, Medium, or blockchain-based social networks – have enabled publishers to place content in various digital spaces, tracking subscriber engagement without having to drive them exclusively to a branded site.
The rapid ascent of online audio listening, short and long form videos, and podcasts have similarly provided a broader menu for subscribers with different entry points for engaging both subscription content and advertisements. Data tracking systems have also ensured that users can engage with their subscriptions cleanly from device to device without being offered redundant content, pricing, or advertising.
These various tools offer creative, integrated, and diversified revenue opportunities across topics and digital access points.
Blockchain payments have likewise empowered publishers to optimize revenue from all their content across digital spheres. These are particularly exciting ways for publishers to leverage the power of technology across both content and billing options, and even renegotiate relationships with independent journalists drawing a lot of reader interest.
In a report on the impact of blockchain technology, Maryville University reports:
“Best known for enabling the exchange of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, blockchain-based systems…could eventually help newsrooms build public trust while increasing financial sustainability…Individuals and organizations can use blockchains to permanently store and track records of online transactions and digital communications. Information within a blockchain system can be easily authenticated and tracked back to its source, making it easier for readers to verify that a given story was published by its stated author, potentially helping prevent the spread of hoax news articles. Blockchain-powered content could also create new ways for journalists to charge for premium content using microtransactions.”
Publishers can now spring competitively into the future with efficient, streamlined tools to connect with their subscribers all across the customer journey and throughout digital ecosystems. Tech innovations such as AI and ML, targeted delivery, chatGPT and blockchain systems are transforming publishers’ ability to generate personalized content and iterate precise user experiences in ways that help them realize their revenue potential.
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