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#MarketBriefing: How audience measurement has increased digital revenues for Incisive Media

B2B publisher Incisive Media’s improved understanding of analytics has resulted in an increase in digital revenue and profit over the past two years, according to Jon Bentley, head of online commercial development.

Bentley told a conference on ‘audience revenue tools for online publishers’ today that Incisive has achieved an average of 10.34 minutes “dwell time” on its “gated” paid subscription sites, when the average dwell time is  7.55 minutes, according to analysis by AOP.

So what does Incisive do differently?

It measures analytics closely, both for subscription sites and those which do not require readers to pay, Bentley explained. In an introduction to the event, Patrick Smith, editor and chief analyst of had put forward this idea saying:

It’s only through the measurement and analytics that you realise who might pay and why they might pay.

Incisive uses Web Analytics and Google Analytics and is starting to talk to Scout Analytics. Bentley detailed what Incisive has done over the past two years to improve the understanding of the audience:

  • It has improved governance and reviewed all analytics.
  • Defined and re-defined the business needs. It has done this by talking to people within the publishing business.
  • Incisive re-wrote its tagging strategy, technically categorising content types.
  • Integrated digital and offline data, merging email and web databases.
  • Developed communications.
  • Set up regular reviews.

The monthly analytics review “clinics”, which feature those from the web, commercial and editorial teams sitting round a table, are “probably the most successful thing we’ve done”, Bentley added.

As well as looking at unique users, page impressions, visits, active email addresses, – which are “one of the most valuable indicators you have” – Incisive also focuses on the sell-through rate, which “is one of the key indicators for revenue”.

Bentley echoed Patrick Smith who said earlier that “the measure of success is no longer about reach”.

It matters but who readers are and what they do is just as important.

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#paywalls12 – Niche content paywalls: three success stories

February 23rd, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Events, Paid-for content

The journey from print to digital is “a bit like making trains that float, in case they need to go back on the canal,” Steve Hewlett, Guardian columnist and presenter of BBC Radio 4′s Media Show.

His analogy came at the opening of today’s Paywall Strategies event, which Hewlett is chairing.

Three niche publishers spoke on the panel, along with Tom Whitwell from the Times.

For B2B publisher Lloyd’s List Group, publisher of the 277-year-old daily print newspaper Lloyds List ,which specialises in shipping and commodities news, “Print comes third behind mobile and web,” Adam Smallman said.

“We have sought to provide bloody fantastic content. That’s our paywall strategy,” he added.

Lloyd’s model is a high-price subscription which companies pay, providing access for their employees.

Out of the 7,000 subscribers, 4,000 receive the daily print copy.

A huge focus for the Lloyds List Group is the merging of data and journalism. Smallman illustrated how data led to a story which saw him interviewed on each major US network after last month’s sinking of cruise ship the Costa Concordia.

Data collection meant Lloyds was able to report that the ship had previously come even closer to the island off which it sank, coming within 230 metres of land last year.

Another niche publisher on the panel was Incisive Media, which owns a range of specialist titles.

Jon Bentley, head of online commercial development, said 65 per cent of people who come to Incisive sites never come back. “Therefore focus on your fans who do return,” he recommended.

And those who do not return look at just 2.6 pages per visit, compared with 7.11 pages viewed at by “customers”.

Their aim is therefore to convert readers from “fly-by to fan”, Bentley said, explaining it can be tough with just 5 per cent taking up a trial.

Rob Aherne, of Haymarket Media Group, talked about a different type of niche content: motorsport titles.

The sites – Autosport, Motorsport News and Castrol EDGE World Driver Rankings – have 1.1 million users viewing 20 million pages a month.

“Our paywall has saved us as a business,” he proclaimed.

After trialling a free model and a hard paywall, they have settled on a “freemium” option, with some free content and readers asked to ay £5.50-a-moth for additional content. Those who buy the magazine get a digital subscription included.

So what will people pay for? “Words and pictures – and it is all ad free,” he explained.

Just 1 per cent of readers pay to access content, but those account for 11 per cent of site traffic. “They are loyal, they are engaged,” Aherne added.

The motorsport titles break news outside the wall, but provide content for deeper engagement behind the wall.

Readers subscribe because “they want to know more than the bloke next to them in the pub,” Aherne said.

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#jpod: How journalists can best use LinkedIn

A guide to using LinkedIn to find sources, share stories, build online communities and increase social referrals to your news site.

In this week’s #jpod technology correspondent Sarah Marshall speaks to Krista Canfield from LinkedIn to find out more about LinkedIn Today and how it has resulted in becoming a more important traffic driver than Twitter for TechCrunch.

The podcast also explores how freelancers can use LinkedIn to find work and John Barnes, managing director, digital strategy and development at B2B publishers Incisive Media explains how the firm’s publications use LinkedIn groups.



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#PPAconf: ‘Let’s make sure we do the paid content thing well’

May 4th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Business, Events, Magazines

The final session at the PPA Inspiration & Innovation digital publishing conference today returned to the now common discussion of how publishers can, and should be, developing digital revenues.

Neil Thackray, co-founder of Briefing Media opened up the debate by urging publishers not to repeat what he called a “monumental cock-up” in terms of making money through online advertising. “Let’s make sure we do the paid content thing well”, he said.

But this begs a question that remains unanswered for many: how exactly? Well the main pieces of advice were for publishers to take their time in developing strategies and new digital products, to use the unique content on offer, and not to simply regurgitate online content on new digital platforms. But overall in developing new revenues and products such as mobile, Thackray summed up, it is about putting the reader at the centre of what you do, not the brand or magazine.

And understanding these readers is key, the panel agreed, as fellow panel member Rob Grimshaw, managing director of, was able to demonstrate.

According to some of the latest figures the FT website saw a 79 per cent year-on-year increase in registered users in 2010, taking the total to more than three million. There has also been a reported 50 per cent increase in digital subscriptions on 2009, with 207,000 registering, and 900,000 downloads of FT apps on mobile phones and tablet devices for the period.

And now it is planning on using this vast data, which it has accrued as a result of its business model, to improve and inform the editorial content offered to its users – and that’s through personalised news.

It is about using insight to power the delivery of the content on the site. We have a fantastic rich picture of what our readers like about the content, how they consume it, and we have an opportunity to use that insight to deliver to people the content that they want.

I caught up with Grimshaw at the end of the panel debate to hear more about the plans:


Similarly John Barnes, managing director of digital at Incisive Media – and who is speaking at news:rewired, noise to signal later this month – echoed the value of knowledge when it comes to the audience.

I think business-to-business publishers went after the numbers and lost sight of the fact we should have a deep knowledge of our readers.

With the proliferation of platforms and operating systems, technology can make you a busy fool. For example we hear about digital magazines or iPad apps – what is the right way to go? Well maybe the right way is to not go quickly, or not at all.

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Podcast: The Times, Guardian and Google at AOP diversifying revenues forum

July 8th, 2010 | 2 Comments | Posted by in Business, Events, Multimedia, Podcast

We caught up with speakers from Wednesday’s Association of Online Publishers forum, entitled Diversifying Revenues – Paywall, API or iPad?

Listen below for our podcast from the day’s events, with comments from: Tom Whitwell, assistant editor for online, the Times; Tim Gentry head of optimisation and effectiveness, the Guardian; Tom Wright publisher for Datagroup, Incisive Media; and Benedicte Autret, strategic partner manager, Google.

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Media Week: Incisive Media near to agreeing debt-for-equity deal

August 18th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Journalism, Magazines

“Incisive Media, the owner of magazines including Accountancy Age and Computing, is near to agreeing a debt-for-equity deal that would give 25 per cent ownership of the firm to its management,” reports Media Week. Private equity firm, Apax Partners, currently owns 59 per cent; Caledonia Investors and Ingenious Media also have stakes in Incisive.

Full story at this link…

(via paidContent:UK)

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Rory Brown: What next for the B2B media industry?

December 17th, 2008 | 3 Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Magazines

Rory Brown, former managing director of the interactive marketing division of Incisive Media, shares his thought about the future of business-to-business publishing. “Yes, big media is clearly struggling – and not just because of the economy – but because, in the main, their whole corporate structure is set up for a very different era,” he says.

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Press Gazette: 20-30 redundancies announced at Incisive, including Investment Week editor

November 12th, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Jobs, Magazines

Incisive Media has completed its redundancy consultation, reports Press Gazette. Between 20 and 30 editorial jobs will be cut – about half the number initially suggested.

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AOP: RBI takes four prizes at Digital Publishing Awards 2008

October 2nd, 2008 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Online Journalism

Reed Business Information (RBI) won four of the 16 awards handed out at last night’s Association of Online Publishers (AOP) Digital Publishing Awards.

The publisher was named best online publisher in the business field for the second year running, as well as picking up prizes for best business website, best B2B online community for Farmers Weekly Interactive, and best online advertising sales team in the business category.

Sky News’ website was awarded the gong for best consumer website, while parent company BSkyB was named best consumer publisher online.

The Guardian picked up an accolade for its Katine project and for use of video online.

The full list of winners (courtesy of a release from the AOP):

Launch 2008 award – Guardian News and Media for

Editorial team (business) – Accountancy Age, Incisive Media

Editorial team (consumer) –, IPC Media

Research & insights project – The Origin Panel – Women’s Space, IPC Media

Online advertising sales team (consumer) – Future Publishing – digital agency team

Online advertising sales team (business) – RBI e-newsletters

Innovation 2008 award – Financial Times, Mockingbird Model

Cross-media project – WKD Nuts Football Awards, IPC Media

Commercial partnership – Ford Bite, Channel 4

Use of video –

Mobile site – Sun Mobile, News Group Newspapers

Online community – Farmers Weekly Interactive, RBI

Best website (business) –, RBI

Best website (consumer) – Sky News, BSkyB

Best online publisher 2008 (business) – RBI

Best online publisher 2008 (consumer) – BSkyB

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Media Week: Publishers to use targeted ad service

September 3rd, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Advertising, Editors' pick

Media companies such as Trinity Mirror, Incisive Media and Global Radio have signed up to iSense Network, a targeted ad service for online.

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