Website Changes Benefit Traffic, Audience Numbers for Subscription Publishers

Subscription publishers at Politico add more to their paid subscriber count; Bloomberg increases page views by improving site speed; Bauer Xcel Media increases newsletter subscriptions

Subscription publishers need to be open to constant changes in order to find the best way to drive more traffic and build a bigger audience. Today we look at three publishers who are experiencing growth and how they’ve done it.

We begin with Bloomberg, which has started driving more traffic by increasing its page load time. Digiday reports, “Between October and December, Bloomberg Media shifted all of its verticals to its proprietary article-template platform called Javelin. The move helped its articles load faster because Javelin utilizes a newer and more efficient internet protocol, and it allows web developers to more easily isolate problem areas and make more frequent alterations.”

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More than six months of data show that page-load time is down 40 to 50 percent on average across devices. (The company wouldn’t provide parameters, saying that load times are based on various factors and every company measures speed differently.) The speed boost contributed to an increase in viewability from 80 percent to 84 percent, pageviews per session increased from 3.6 to 4.2 and impressions per session are up 10 percent, said Dan Hallac, head of digital web product at Bloomberg. Bloomberg’s mobile load time still “needs work,” according to Google’s speed test tool, but that’s an improvement from the “poor” rating it received in October.”

Our next story looks at Bauer Xcel Media and how its subscription publishers have increased its audience of email subscriptions through Facebook Instant Articles. Digiday reports, “Since May, Bauer Xcel Media, the U.S. digital offshoot of European magazine publisher Bauer Media, has published about 20 percent of its content on IA, said Mike Shaughnessy, vp of revenue at Bauer Xcel Media. The publisher found that IA users are 50 times more likely to sign up for newsletters than users who visit its own properties. Bauer Xcel declined to provide raw numbers.”

“An IA user is more likely to subscribe to newsletters because Facebook already has their email address, so sign-ups take just one click, Shaughnessy said. Meanwhile, on Bauer Xcel’s own websites, where it does not already know users’ email addresses, users have to type in their email addresses to sign up. Newsletter subscribers obtained through IA also have a gross open rate of about 30 percent, which is about 10 percentage points higher than the open rate from subscribers who opt in from Bauer Xcel’s own properties, according to the publisher. Shaughnessy declined to speculate why IA users have higher open rates.”

Our last story looks at new products being added to the subscription product from Politico, and the growth this subscription website has experienced. Digiday reports, “The new products come as Pro has gone from a 2010 side project to a 200-person operation that drives half of Politico’s yearly revenues. Over the past three years, revenue has grown 30 percent year over year, and it maintains a 90 percent renewal rate with its client base, according to the company.”

“By digital media standards, Pro serves a small audience. Just 20,000 of Politico’s 30 million monthly unique visitors read Pro content, according to Moran.”

As Pro’s product team identifies new products it might add to the subscription, it tries to figure out how many of Pro’s subscribers might find a given product useful. If the answer is less than 50 percent, it is launched as a standalone product. If the answer is more than 50 percent, it’s baked into the core product, and the price goes up.”

Are you among the subscription publishers interested in driving more website traffic and expanding your subscription website offerings? Do you need help doing this? If so, set up a time to chat with us.We’ve helped many subscription publishers optimize their websites to drive more traffic and increase subscriptions.


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