Publishing’s Big Opportunity

It goes without saying that print publishers haven’t had a lot of good news lately. But that can all change quite quickly if publishers take advantage of opportunities there for the taking.

Content owners know how to match content with audience. The industry
has erected many barriers between the publisher and the advertiser, and as a result,
it can be challenging for all publishers to see the revenue opportunity in that audience.
Content owners need to find an audience-development partner — or build one in-
house — that is responsible for turning what used to be circulation into database
marketing. The desired outcome: Aggregate a unique and finely tuned audience-data
asset to better present segments and behaviors to establish sources of revenue, for both
existing advertiser clients and new areas of the industry that have traditionally presented challenges.

There are a number of top-line elements that content owners need to address in
establishing their audience-monetization strategy. These include scale, current
information and future state.

To begin with, how big do you want to be online? The economics certainly aren’t
as tough in the digital realm in terms of raw materials and overhead. Still, content
owners need to have goals about how many unique users they would like to have in
three months, one year and three years. And a careful consideration of where current
customer retention fits in with new customer prospecting is also critical in terms of
maintenance and overall growth.

As for current information, be honest about the actual state of your database. Some
publishers believe that their print databases can simply be switched to digital. That’s
just not the case. In order to execute and participate in audience-targeting campaigns,
you need more detail than you ever needed for print, along with the necessary privacy
safeguards that have been developed for managing this non-personally identifiable
information. Elements like offline data, information from social partners, email lists and
many other unique sources of data can be harnessed and used as part of the audience-data strategy to ensure the database is growing and evolving into an actionable asset.

Finally, dream big. Even if your scale is small, content owners should be ambitious
when it comes to the quality and detail of their databases. The richness of a publisher’s data is unique, and if used properly, it can grow visitor bases, increase revenue and meet marketers’ needs that seemed unachievable while keeping the proposition fresh. It is print circulation on steroids, enabling advertisers to be more effective. In fact, advertiser effectiveness directly correlates to the quality of the publication’s database.

Database improvements can be seen within 30 days. However, there needs to be a
basic shift in focus. It’s not just readers, numbers and reaching the next plateau to
charge more money per ad. It’s a constant, fluid effort of building and defining your most valuable assets — certainly something worthy of proposing a toast.

Jeremy Mason is vp of strategic relationships at AudienceScience.

Image via Shutterstock

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