7 Digital Magazine Publishing Metrics

The success of your digital magazine can be monitored with the help of these important publishing metrics

publishing metrics

Digital magazine publishing has come a long way from its inception. Some publishers are still offering digital magazine apps, however, the future of revenue for digital magazines comes from web editions that are sold through magazine subscription websites. Web editions are superior because they can be accessed easily from any device, giving them vastly more marketing opportunities compared to app editions. 

As a result, it’s now possible to amass 20,000 premium members in three to five years in even the smallest consumer magazine niches—a feat that proved challenging when creating expensive and promotion-constrained app editions.

That’s why the following seven digital magazine publishing metrics are focused on selling web magazines through your subscription website. Like all digital platforms, you must track the right data in order to know where to focus your efforts. 

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Seven digital magazine publishing metrics

1. New names per month: While this metric can be fed by several calculations that would include website traffic, email capture rate, database availability, and database conversion rate, the mix depends on the assets available to each publishing system. At the end of the calculation, we typically come up with a new-free-member-per-month count that becomes a key driver for premium revenue generation.

2. Free member retention rate: This key metric measures how well your new-to-file names stay with you. The longer they stay, the greater chance they will convert to premium members.

3. New orders per 10,000 free members: This metric looks at the ratio between the number of active free members and the number of new premium members that are being created each month. As mentioned before, there are a number of upstream publishing metrics that would include email contact frequency, email conversion rates from both spotlights and previews, and ancillary order sources that could include paid media, affiliates, and reciprocal marketing. We discovered that this number becomes a very steady trendline that aggregates all of the new business activities geared to create premium members and is thus a very stable forecasting metric.

4. Premium retention rate: This key metric takes a look at how long the new premium customers stay subscribed to the program. The number could be calculated monthly, quarterly, or annually depending upon the contract term, and some of our systems use all three of the above contract terms, although most tend to be annual or monthly.

5. Average new business price: This simple metric answers the question of how much you’re charging, on average, for a new premium order. The number becomes stable over time as your marketing schedule, contact frequency, and other programs become predictable.

6. Retention price: This metric can be stated as a monthly, quarterly, or annual price and then translated into a common annual metric that will drive the bulk of your premium revenue.

7. Average revenue per premium member: This key metric shows how systems mature over time as new, conversion, and renewal revenues grow. Because these systems rely on low introductory pricing, this key metric’s change over time is large. Once the rate of change begins to slow down, this key metric becomes a very stable indicator of a mature system’s success.

What do you measure for digital magazine publishing metrics? Leave a comment and share your thoughts with our community.

Over the past two decades, we’ve guided more than 300 niche publishers through the process of transforming themselves from legacy print publishers into multiplatform operations that often dominate their industry niche and generate operating margins that surpass those created by their legacy print business. Learn more about how we can help you apply these strategies to your publishing business by scheduling a FREE consultation today.

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