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Digital Publishing Trends Multiplatform Publishing Strategy

Publishers Using Technology for Audience Development Growth

Audience development growing with faster ads, custom software and more social media usage

Audience development continues to be a wide area for publishers to explore. The best strategies show consistent results in audience growth, and today we’re sharing some of the latest findings from the industry.

We begin with Meredith and the audience growth they’ve found ad optimization. Digiday reports, “Cutting down the amount of code on its webpages has helped Meredith make more revenue per visitor.”

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Meredith, which publishes women’s lifestyle titles including Better Homes and Gardens and Family Circle, began an audit of its code a year ago. This led it to remove several vendors and shift code from browsers to servers. The code audit helped Meredith speed up its ad-rendering times by 15-20 percent across desktop and mobile, which, along with an increase in native advertising, contributed to a 20 percent increase in revenue per visit, said Matt Minoff, Meredith’s chief digital officer.”

The results were especially dramatic on mobile, where Meredith gets about 60 percent of its traffic and where speed is especially important: There, getting ads to load faster helped drive a 74 percent increase in revenue per visit. Meredith wouldn’t share raw numbers.”

Our next story looks at Washington Post and the process of creating its own software for better audience engagement and a streamlined website. NPR reports, “Prior to Bezos, the Post‘s technology operation consisted mostly of a help desk, fixing computers and software-bug patches and such. After Bezos, and at his urging, the Post made a critical decision: to build its own software.”

Creating its own technology, in turn, gave the Post more control over things like load speeds and reliability, as well as deep visibility into its users — which stories they read, how far they scrolled, which headlines drew more traffic, and whether each reader has a preference for videos or photo presentations. That information could be fed back to the newsroom in real time, enabling them to, for example, beta-test headlines and optimize photos suited to different models of phones.”

The article continues with a look at the results thus far. “Though the Post‘s paper circulation is still declining slightly, its online readership is up 22 percent over last year. Readers are spending more time on the site. And, most critically for marketers, there was a fivefold increase in users engaging with the ads. The Post has said its digital ad revenue now exceeds $100 million annually, growing double-digit percentages three years in a row.”

On a closing note, we look at the growth in social media and the importance it has in the media space. Marketing Charts reports, “The most rapidly growing news source for Americans is social media, according to the latest annual Reuters Institute’s Digital News Report. In fact, this year for the first time a majority (51%) of Americans surveyed reported using social media as a source of news during the prior week.”

It’s clear that social media is an important part of the news cycle that publishers can benefit from when using it correctly.

Are you a publisher striving to enhance your audience development strategy? If so, please set up a time to chat with us. We’ve helped hundreds of publishers develop an audience development strategy that’s led to more website traffic, more users and more revenue.

By Kim Mateus

Chief Strategy Officer

Kim Mateus is Chief Strategy Officer for Mequoda Systems and the Mequoda Systems Content Network where she oversees strategic planning for the organization's 200 plus premium subscription products. Over the past decade, she has guided the development of more than 20 subscription marketing systems including I Like Crochet Network, New England Network and Your AAA Network. She and her team maintain an exhaustive best practices database of subscription marketing techniques and business processes that she uses to advise her clients and optimize the more than 60 websites that make up the Mequoda Systems Content Network. Kim is a frequent speaker at industry events and serves on the board of the Specialized information Publishers Association.

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