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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 TheMediaBriefing.com 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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#MarketBriefing: How the FT is measuring its shift to mobile

Multichannel analytics is key for the Financial Times, which is well known as a leader in understanding its audience and using the data to increase revenues.

The FT, which has 4.5 million registered users of its digital offering and 285,000 paying digital subscribers, has a team of 30 people focusing on web analytics, data and digital marketing for the title.

The digital subscriber base grew by 29 per cent last year, demonstrating how understanding the audience pays off.

Why audience analytics is key

Tom Betts, head of web anaytics as the FT, told today’s ‘audience revenue tools for online publishers’ conference how it has grown its subscriber base and used data to help “fuel” their shift to mobile.

One of the things the FT has been doing for the past two or three years, Betts said, is personalising the communications with readers based on the types of editorial content they are are interested in.

The FT looks at customer DNA, at how much of each type of content, such as “markets”, “world”, “personal finance”, they read.

The FT can then tailor newsletters “to personalise the experience that people have with us”, Betts explained.

How mobile alters the digital landscape

But simply looking at digital analytics is not enough. Platform-specific data can give a better picture of the individual.

For example, Betts explained how if a reader has not read “weekend” or “personal finance” content online, it might be that they read it on a tablet or mobile when they are at home.

Mobile is altering the way our customers read our content.

And this information can turn into revenue. At least 20 per cent of new FT subscriptions comes from behaviour-driven data marketing, Betts said.

He also said it is essential to understand whether if people are engaging across platforms.

“Are the platforms generating a new audience or are we just moving the audience from one platform to another?” Betts asks the data, as that will dictate how much it is worth investing in digital offerings for different devices.

The FT famously created a web app in order to have a direct relationship with the customer, which it was not able to do with its previous iOS native iPad app.

As well as providing data from the web app and bypassing Apple’s 30 per cent levy, the technology behind the app also makes “deployment easier”, Betts said.

“HTML5 makes deployment easier” as the “core remains the same with different wrap-arounds” overlaid for the Android and Windows 8 native apps.

And looking at the data demonstrating when the various devices are used is also beneficial.

Betts demonstrated with a graph to show the main smartphone and tablet usage peaks at breakfast, with another rise in the evening.

Existing subscribers are not just reading during the business day.

They therefore get better value of their subscriptions and less likely to cancel.

Update: This post initially quoted Tom Betts as saying “everything we’ve done that has been successful at the FT has been related to data”. The FT would like to clarify that Betts was referring to the fact that “the intelligent use of data has been a significant driver of our commercial success”.

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#MarketBriefing: ’80% of digital revenue comes from your loyal audience’

June 20th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted by in Business, Paid-for content

Eighty per cent of a typical news site’s digital revenue comes from their loyal, returning audience, those the publisher has an email addresses for, with 20 per cent of revenues coming from flyby users.

But 80 per cent of traffic comes from the flybys who generate the minority of the revenue.

The statistics, which are unlikely to come as a great surprise to many publishers, were shared at today’s ‘audience revenue tools for online publishers’ conference by Matt Shanahan, SVP strategy for Scout Analytics, one of the data tools discussed at the event.

Shanahan talked of the positives and negatives of revenues from print versus digital.

He said the main difference is that print is based on “distribution” whereas in digital, publishers get paid for “usage”.

Outlining the negatives of shifting to digital, Shanahan said publishers can expect “to chop in half” revenues. Meanwhile, there is a need to sell more ads, he said.

One of the many positives, Shanahan said, is that with analytics “you know what people are reading”.

Shanahan therefore encourages publishers to focus on analytics and to segment the audience by revenue. Scout Analytics calls it “revenue-weighted behavioural segmentation”.

A publisher should:

  • Look at what editorial is generating the most ad revenue
  • Ask ‘can readers be converted to subscribers?’
  • Look at what usage profiles have most event revenue potential
  • Look at audience development and what sources have the highest lifetime value

He says those who dig into the data in this way can “grow revenues by 200 to 500 per cent”.

“An anonymous audience is an anchor,” Shanahan said, explaining the value that comes when a publisher has an email address for a reader.

He showed statistics to demonstrate how a registered audience will “always be much smaller in number” but showed how they generate far more revenue for the publisher.

Shanahan said that “even if you have a registered user it doesn’t mean they come everyday”. But if you have their email address, you still get to market to them.

And loyal readers have the same conversion rate as those who do visit the site every day, he said, when marketing daily deals by email, for example.

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