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5 Publishing Predictions: An Opportunity to Drive Deeper Reader Relationships

January 19, 2022
Posted by Tim Yeates

5 Publishing Predictions for 2022: An Opportunity to Drive Deeper Reader Relationships

The acceleration toward direct-to-consumer reader revenues remains unchanged and will continue to be a strategic priority for publishers throughout 2022. While business models continue to evolve this year – as there’s not a one size fits all approach – publishers are in tune with the opportunities placed before them, unleashed by the right technology and audience data. By reimagining their tech stacks, publishers will be able to drive more personalized reader relationships, experiment with products and create sustainable, omnichannel recurring and transactional revenues. Following these themes, over the next 12 months we’re likely to see:

1. Realignment of Publisher KPIs

As business models evolve, publishers will continue to re-define their KPIs to better align with changing revenue strategies, vision and mission statements. Volume will play second fiddle to engagement, with volume metrics such as unique traffic, visits and impressions becoming less of a focus, and engagement metrics, such as recency and frequency volume of content read coming to the forefront. In short, a measure of experience, customer lifetime value and retention versus a focus purely on acquiring new subscribers. The pandemic and cookie deprecation has no doubt been a catalyst to reimagine KPIs top-down right across the publishing industry with a growing emphasis on subscription models versus/alongside advertising, and a shift of measuring success is following suit – but it is technology which must facilitate this re-alignment and provide visibility across various publishing functions currently operating in silos.

>> More Info Tip – Read our guide on Transforming Tech Stacks, Operations, and Targets for Publishers


2. Customer Centricity Key to Maximizing Engagement

Trends in data governance and top-down re-alignment of vision and mission will lead to better experiences for the reader and likely have a positive impact on engagement. The emphasis and prevalence of audience data – particularly first-party data – has become a gold mine for publishers to drive data-driven insight, informing decisions around product propositions, content, pricing, etc., and harness technologies to personalize the overall experience.

>> More Info Tip – Read our guide on Digital Revenue Expansion for Publishing Brands


3. A Healthy Blend of Revenue Streams 

Ads and subscriptions can co-exist, and so too can print and digital – journalism doesn’t have to be a binary business; a successful publisher will have a healthy blend of business models and bundles. And as publishers invest in quality online products such as podcasts, newsletters, and video content, we’ll see an increase in interactive experiences to complement traditional channels e.g., ePapers, PDF or print formats.

>> More Info Tip – Read our guide on Subscription-first Acquisition Strategies for Publishers


4. First-party Data: Unifying Subscriptions and Ads 

The great cookie crumble and changes to first-party data strategies could be the gift the subscription teams give to the ad revenue teams. Technology can accelerate and underpin this change and align revenue teams under a single mission. Registrations and progressive profiling are likely going to grow in importance to facilitate this opportunity to feed advertising, while enabling subscription teams to tailor experiences, products and prices to individual needs.

>> More Info Tip – Read our guide on First-party Data – Time to Pivot from Firefighting to Strategy


5. Best-of-Breed Vendors: Better Together

In terms of the publishing technology landscape, we expect to see the acceleration of best-of-breed technology vendors joining together to create innovative ecosystems of integrations to further technological transformation, reduce complexity and lower costs. Notably, the adoption of Customer Data Platforms (CDPs), Data Management Platforms (DMPs), data lakes, predictive and MarTech technology will enable publishers to flourish by better understanding their readers and testing their strategies more quickly and effectively than ever before.

The year ahead presents an opportunity for publishers to redefine their relationships with readers thanks to the data becoming more available and technology vendors knitting together to form an enticing ecosystem.  

In a time of global uncertainty, journalism has never been more important, and their ability to experiment and streamline their reader revenue operations is critical, enabling publishers to focus on what publishers do best: content. 

>> More Info Tip – Read our whitepaper on The Build vs Buy Dilemma

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This blog post was written by:

Tim Yeates
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