Readership Data: Monetization, Registration, Personalization

Can readership data deliver the goods for digital publishers? The TL;DR answer is yes.

For digital magazines, readership data holds a world of possibility within all of those numbers, clicks, and submissions of info. The problem for publishers is figuring out how exactly to draw upon it.

With its recent FUSE: The Convergence of Technology & Media conference, got a firsthand view at industry leaders’ views, ideas, and outlooks when it comes to data-driven publishing revenue. Let’s see what they found out!

Harnessing Readership Data for Publisher Monetization cites the noteworthy case study of Genetic Engineering News in sizing up the importance of readership data and how to maximize it.

“Publishers know that they need to have data about their audience for a number of reasons. They need to know who is reading their content and whether that content is resonating with them. Additionally, they need to understand their audience demographics and engagement in order to sell advertising to the right brands. This should sound familiar because the goal of audience data hasn’t really changed since the pre-web days. In the past publishers collected demographic information from print subscriptions and BPA statements and learned about reader interests from consumer surveys. What’s changed is how publishers collect data and the data points available,” Ellen Harvey writes.

“With the growth of online content, many publishers only know a portion of the readers that visit their sites – those that have opted into an email or webinar or downloaded a white paper. And even among these opted-in readers, demographic data is often sparse. That’s a big problem because many publishers are failing to take into account these readers’ interests and adjust their strategy accordingly. Often, that translates to missed revenue opportunities.”

Registration Is Crucial to Data-Driven Publishing

Digital publishers must ramp up even further their good work in collecting consumer magazine stats, says.


“Growing the share of the known audience is the key to effective yield management. Certainly, through machine learning, even a small share of known audience can help identify ‘look-alikes’ in the anonymous audience. ‘Look-alikes’ are great, but once an audience is truly known, publishers can decide how best to monetize each customer from a net revenue point of view,”  Arvid Tchivzhel writes.

“For some customers who use ad blockers, a paywall and heavy email marketing may be the only choice to generate revenue. For other highly engaged customers, free registration and highly targeted advertising may be the best way to generate value. In fact, simply creating an audience segment titled ‘user has PII’ can greatly increase the price advertisers pay for inventory. … Yield management is how countless industries and companies have been able to maintain and grow their revenue. The first step is getting to really know your audience.”

Top Trends to Track in Wake of FUSE Conference presents its top 10 digital media trends magazines can’t ignore, and a couple of them deal directly in readership data.

“Content personalization is now a reality and will become the dominant method of delivering content, said Litvack. 56% of websites and 67% of emails have some level of personalization. Publishers need to continue to integrate this technology into their platforms in order to meet consumers’ expectations,” Harvey writes.

“Behind many of these trends is the growing importance of first-party data that can drive publishers’ content, audience development, and monetization strategies. Litvack noted that first-party data is invaluable for ad targeting, content personalization, cross-platform identification, and audience extension. Without a unified database and robust analytics technology that can identify individual site visitors and track behavior, publishers cannot iterate and evolve for the future.”

Are you drawing on readership data in your digital publishing efforts? Describe your experience in the comments.

To read more about readership data and other industry trends, visit


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