Monetizing: And what comes next?
There was never a better time to experiment. Use the following 5 tips to set up a solid foundation that will enable you to maximise the profitability of your digital content:
- Analyse: You cannot offer your customer anything of lasting value if you do not know who he is and how he interacts with your website. You have to find out what he is looking for and what he is willing to pay for. Kai Diekmann, the Editor-in-Chief of Germany’s largest daily newspaper, Bild, and Matthias Hartmann, CEO of the market research company GFK, both herald data as the new oil and gold for the 21st century, respectively. And they are right. If publishing houses fail to analyse digital customers’ behavior and conversion rates, then they are missing out on key elements that can help optimise their services and maximise their turnover. But don’t simply hand over your oil and gold by outsourcing your data to entities like Google Analytics. Keep your data and the results of your website, app, and social media analyses in-house. Use your results to tailor content across all channels to the wishes of your target groups.
- Get to know your customers and pay for reader feedback. The critical difference between a paywall and a datawall is that your reader provides you with specific details about his personality. Is your reader, for example, interested in additional stories after five free articles about a certain topic? In exchange for his email address and age, you can provide him with additional articles. The more data he provides, the more articles he receives. Customer data is a publishing house’s strongest currency. The better you know your reader, the more precisely and profitably you can sell ad space, conduct marketing campaigns and last, but not least, deliver content and provide additional, topically relevant content.
- Exploit your readers’ network and increase your reach and influence on social media. Every time a reader shares on his social network he receives credit that he can invest in articles. With each share, your content visibility increases with a young and hungry target market ready to consume but whom you can hardly reach through traditional print media. Turn your content into the next viral hit.
- Give your customers an array of payment options. According to a study recently conducted by ECC Cologne (a German research and consulting organsiation focused on digital), 85.9 percent of German online shoppers use the following four methods to pay for online purchases: invoice, credit card, direct debit or PayPal. Once an online vendor makes these payment options available, the cancellation rate owing to inadequate payment methods drops to 6-7 percent. If these payment options are not available, then this leads to much higher cancellation rates and as such to lost revenue. But you can avoid this.
- Build reader loyalty. According to the Goldmedia’s Trend Monitor report, digital subscriptions are the big thing. They offer content providers on the one hand a steady revenue stream and the consumer does not have to constantly make new purchasing decisions, as long as he knows what he is getting for his money. Thinking ahead, you quickly realise that a club membership with various special offers is the next logical step. This is a particularly exciting business model for regional publishing houses which have excellent connections to local retailers. Exploit regional ads (again) as you see fit.
The upshot: Use the power of your own data to optimise your digital presence, to learn more about your readers and as such always to provide the right content designed attractively for each target market, on each device, on each platform.
And I would like to conclude by giving you some encouraging figures. According to the Federation of German Newspaper Publishers, 106 German newspapers are currently focusing on paid content. A Bitcom study from January 2015 reveals that 34 percent of all internet users in Germany pay for editorial content and that this figure represents an 11 percent increase compared to the study in 2014. What is particularly interesting about this study is that 40 percent of consumers between the ages of 14 and 29 pay for content. It is exactly this group that traditional print content cannot reach.
Manuel Scheyda, is the Senior Vice President of Product and Innovation Management at ppi Media and the author of this post. Over the last few years, Manuel Scheyda has been working hard in the area of monetising digital content and has presented this topic at various events.