BtoB Media Business - March 2010 - (Page 10)

FEATURE Digital depth Audience developers find new ways to engage readers with online options BY MARK J. MILLER A new breed of mobile devices such as the just-announced Apple iPad may help jump-start paid content, according to some developers. “If readers are willing to pay to get the information they want, when they want it, in whatever format they want, then hopefully we’ll have all jobs well into the future,” said Debbie Winders, VP-circulation and distribution at IDG Enterprises. New metrics Once relegated to the backroom turning the pages of BPA statements, audience developers now have a tidal wave of metrics to work with, as digital forms produce scads of audience information. BPA Worldwide has tried to serve this need by creating its Brand Reach Report, which describes customer behavior across all touch points with a publisher’s brand. “We’ve had great feedback from our members and foresee this product really taking off in the marketplace,” said BPA Worldwide spokesman Glenn Schutz. No matter how many new metrics there are, the ones developers focus on are rooted in direct-marketing practices, said UBM’s Oldenbrook. Those metrics include such things as page views, open rates, conversion rates and abandon rates. “We are now able to look at behavior like never before, which will lead us to smarter messaging and better responses,” she said. “What gives us an interesting edge is measuring behavior and response through such a wide variety of channels.” That explosion of data is allowing audience development departments to get more involved in Web strategies and analytics, said Desiree Bennett, senior audience marketing manager at Bobit Business Media. “Our input on a Web site is going beyond the subscription forms now and into things like click rates and path analysis,” she said. T he movement to digital has affected audience development in ways large and small. Here are some of those changes: Digital editions Whether it’s sent via e-mail domestically or around the globe, a digital edition can help a media company develop audiences and enhance its brands. “Audience development is really at the center of this movement,” said Christine Oldenbrook, VP-audience development, UBM Global Trade, noting that digital editions can complement a brand’s Web site, which remains the primary marketing channel. Despite the production and distribution cost savings of digital editions, many publishers continue to allow subscribers to choose either a print or digital edition. “I think that [option] is critical to growing and sustaining the digital product versus mandating people to receive the digital version,” said Kim Clothier, director of audience development at FMA Communications. “If you can’t provide the information [readers] want, when they want it and how they want to receive it, they’ll just go somewhere else.” Clothier said that some additional revenue can come from digital editions, such as embedded video advertisements and socalled “e-blow-ins,” which are essentially electronic subscription pop-up windows that allow for differing offers if a new visitor has arrived at the page or a longtime reader is checking out the magazine online. Hearst Business’ Tech Briefs has increased its digital edition subscribers by 37% in the last year, “and that’s with very little help from me,” said Marie Claussell, circulation director at Tech Briefs Media Group. She said part of that came from companies communicating that they were asking their mailrooms not to distribute any print editions, either due to environmental concerns or because of mailroom staff reductions. If an entire print circ file is going to be switched to digital, it’s essential that all recipients be notified of the coming change, Claussell said. Another benefit: All the e-mail addresses associated with the digital edition. “Gathering and verifying all of those e-mail addresses really has helped build our e-mail database, which makes renting it out that much easier,” Claussell said. New revenue The pressure on audience developers to find new revenue has become more intense in the last year, as advertising revenue has declined while becoming increasingly difficult to predict. Two new revenue streams are lead generation and paid content. The reduction in advertising has allowed some titles to change and reduce their subscriber mix to a more specific group of readers, said Rebecca McPheters, CEO of circulation consultancy McPheters & Co. She said the “quality-versus-quantity” concept gives publishers the ability to target readers or leads more specifically, resulting in higher levels of engagement as well as demographic characteristics attractive to advertisers. Getting readers to pay for content is also creeping up on the to-do lists of audience developers, McPheters said. But with content on so many different platforms, circulators are struggling to determine how to monetize the entire package. “We’re no longer in the business of selling annual magazine subscriptions but are now offering an integrated information service that delivers the content using any appliance the customer wants to access it with,” said Maurice Persiani, VP-business services at McGraw-Hill Cos. Editorial, sales collaboration The insights into audience behaviors and preferences that digital metrics provide have been the catalyst, in some companies, for a new alignment between audience developers and their peers in editorial and sales. “The circulators and editors have very similar interests in managing the relationships of the various constituencies,” McPheters said. “It’s only by those two groups working closely together that you can use that for optimal effect. The silos in 10 | Media Business | March 2010 |

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of BtoB Media Business - March 2010

BtoB Media Business - March 2010
Signs Point to a Rebound in M&A Activity
Data Products Increasingly Driving Revenue
Audience Developers Adapt to Digital
Sales & Marketing
Social Media Experimentation a Must

BtoB Media Business - March 2010