It’s no secret that people use a number of different methods to consume content on a daily basis. Gone are the days of opening up a web browser and typing in the domain of your favorite website. Now content consumption comes via platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google, Instagram, SnapChat and others. This change has created a number of challenges for publishers in terms of remaining relevant, communicating effectively and staying top of mind among their audience.
Publishers need to develop new solutions for adapting to this trend. By taking advantage of their first-party customer information, modern data science and engagement initiatives, media publishers can build new products that allow them to reach and monetize audiences like never before.
There are a number of different approaches publishers can take. Here are three that are top of mind:
1. Build an identity-based strategy.
Today’s publishers have more data about their customers than ever before. The challenge is organizing that data in a way that is actionable while providing deep insights into who their customers really are. To do this well, cookies alone won’t cut it. Publishers need a means of combining the data in their CRM, like email addresses, to in-app behavior and anonymous cookies on their website in order to build an identity-based strategy. This will allow them to activate and monetize valuable segments more effectively while delivering more personalized, engaging experiences for their users.
For example, a publisher could create a segment of users that regularly visit a specific set of content, and then compare it to additional onsite actions to find out what other interests they have. Those insights can then be used to customize messaging that furthers conversations with audiences in a meaningful way and provide advertisers with richer audiences to target.
2. Open new revenue streams by developing new products.
Controlling your own destiny is key to any company’s survival. Data is great, but it doesn’t mean much if you don’t have a means of activating it across you own media. Publishers need to develop tech competencies and expand beyond their core business of producing editorial content as a way of taking more ownership of their business to become more innovative while creating new streams of revenue.
A couple of great examples of are:
1) The New York Times is using their editorial chops and audience insights to build and distribute branded content.
2) The Washington Post is now offering its software to other companies, transforming it from a traditional content company to a software company.
There’s even an opportunity for publishers to sell their first-party data insights to advertisers and partners as second-party data segments for activation across other platforms.
3. Bolster proactive media strategies
It’s extremely important for publishers to make sure they are proactively communicating to their audience. With all the distractions and so many companies vying for attention, email is a great tool for publishers to cut through the clutter and reach their audience in a channel where people spend an average 6.3 hours per day (source: Adobe). There are examples out there of some publishers that are doing a great job of this, but as I talk to industry friends, what’s clear to me is more attention needs to be paid to email programs.
By the end of 2020 the number of email users worldwide will top 3 billion – that’s more than half the world’s population. Email continues to be one of the most effective and engaging ways to communicate with people and has always been a great place for customer acquisition and retention. This is a clear indication that publishers should invest in email as more than just a communication tool. They need to start viewing email as an owned marketing vehicle they control to reach audiences outside of the duopoly (Facebook and Google).
These are just a few of the ways publishers can remain relevant in the years to come. When you really think about it, the sky is the limit for organizations that are willing to take chances, build innovative products and have a loyal audience following.