Subscription Websites Increase Renewal Rates and Product Offerings

Subscription websites like Quartz find a way to use branded content to increase renewal rates; BBC considers paywall; Twitter is trying a new subscription marketing package

Subscription websites offer publishers the opportunity to generate renewable revenue consistently. That’s why we are big supporters of digital subscription models. Today we’re looking at some additional subscription and content offerings by major content purveyors.

Our first story looks at Quartz and the growth in renewal rates through brand-content campaigns. Digiday reports, “To formalize this approach, Quartz launched the Quartz Innovation Lab in January, where creative staffers spend a certain portion of their time working on projects like this about every six weeks.”

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“The Lab is part of an approach to help brands and agencies that’s led to a renewal rate of 90 percent for branded content, nearly three times higher than the industry average, per MediaRadar data. Since Quartz launched five years ago, it has executed over 540 campaigns for more than 150 brands, according to a company spokesperson.”

The article continues with a look at the branded-content marketplace. “Competition for branded-content budgets has never been more competitive. The number of publishers offering branded content swelled from 15 in 2013 to more than 600 last year, according to MediaRadar. That buyer’s market has helped keep renewal rates for branded-content programs down around 33 percent last year.”

Our next story moves to BBC Global News and the brand’s potential subscription website. Nikkei reports, “The British Broadcasting Corp. could start charging for news on the web to offset flagging advertising revenue.”

BBC Global News is considering such options as a “micropayment” system offering articles for a few cents each and a membership regime where donors support a still-free website, CEO Jim Egan said in an interview.”

Egan deemed a conventional paywall charging $10 to $15 a month ‘quite unlikely’ for BBC.com, which draws some 100 million monthly visitors.”

Our last story brings us to Twitter and a subscription package offering the social network is now offering. Marketing Land reports, “Twitter is testing a subscription-style ad program that would have businesses pay $99 a month for their accounts and some of their tweets to be automatically promoted on the social network.”

The invite-only Twitter Subscription Ads Beta Program appears to be aimed at smaller advertisers that use Twitter’s self-serve ad-buying tools but may be interested in handing over the reins to Twitter in order to focus on managing the rest of their businesses. It could also appeal to individuals looking to grow their Twitter followings.”

Although this may sound like an intriguing options for some subscription websites, there are some potential drawbacks to the offering. “Advertisers also cannot pick which tweets are promoted by Twitter and have little control over to whom those ads are shown. During the testing phase Twitter is only offering two types of targeting: businesses can pick to have their ads targeted based on a single interest category like sports, parenting or beauty; or can target based on a U.S. metro area like Los Angeles, Atlanta and New York. But this is an either-or proposition; businesses cannot pick an interest category and a metro area. “We are unable to support both targeting criteria at this time,” according to Twitter, without any explanation why that would be.”

Are you trying to figure out which options are best for your subscription websites? If so, set up a time to chat with us. We have helped dozens of major publishers develop and implement subscription websites the center of their online strategy.

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