Between industry blogs, podcasts, and vendor outreach, there is no shortage of content highlighting the latest digital trends. But which trends have been proven to work well for leading media companies today? Working with many of the world’s leading media organizations, we’ve seen some of the most innovative ideas for revenue diversification, which is why our annual user conference this year is themed around the “Revenue Revolution.”

Here are 5 recent strategies our customers have adopted to successfully drive digital revenue. 

 

1.)  They are getting creative with their digital subscription offerings. 

Pay-per-content pricing  

Some publishers are giving readers the option to pay for only the content they wish to read. They may offer separate pricing for category-specific subscription options such as “music only” or “sports only” packages in addition to the option to pay the full subscription amount for all content. 

Topical content and personalized offers 

Targeting can be applied to more than ads on a website. It’s common for publishers to drive subscription growth by leveraging their audience data to target readers with highly relevant and timely content. Targeted content coupled with dynamic, personalized subscription offers increase the likelihood of conversion. 

Subscription bundles and “add-on” options  

Offering discounted pricing to readers who choose to subscribe to more than one service or channel is a creative way to drive growth. Bundles can include subscriptions to online content and videos, podcasts, premium newsletters and even discounted tickets to a media company’s local events. 

  

2.)  They value quality and ensure user experience is a top priority. 

Raising the bar 

Readers expect an enjoyable online experience and subscriber growth proves they are willing to pay for it. They’re no longer forced to tolerate mediocre content and intrusive ad units as leading media companies continue to raise the bar in terms of quality. 

Investing in quality 

Publishers are investing more in quality content and are enforcing strict guidelines when it comes to the types of advertisements they allow on their sites. They’re opting for branded and sponsored content over bothersome banner ads, for a more seamless user experience that readers are willing to pay for. 

Data-backed decisions 

Advertisers are making data-backed decisions when it comes to the creation and placement of their creative. They’re taking additional steps to ensure the right messaging is seen by the right audience at the right time, alongside relevant high-quality content only. 

  

3.)  They own, understand and leverage their data in strategic and responsible ways. 

It pays to stay informed 

The wisest media companies remain well-informed about the state of data regulation and continue to take it seriously. They are transparent about how they collect audience data and they use it responsibly. 

Focus on 1st party data 

Measurement and attribution are top priority along with the collection of quality 1st party data from readers who have given consent. It’s fair for publishers to increase the cost of their 1st party audiences, knowing they will provide more efficient targeting criteria and increased performance to advertisers as a result. 

 

4.)  They are forward-thinking and aren’t afraid to take risks in order to evolve with the industry. 

Leveraging streaming media  

OTT and video ads on connected devices, such as Ruku or SlingTV, are surpassing traditional TV ad spend and digital audio will continue to grow in the digital space as well. Publishers and brands are monetizing their own podcasts and utilizing other digital audio services, such as Spotify, Pandora and smart speakers, to drive revenue. 

Adopting artificial intelligence  

AI is frequently used to improve audience targeting, campaign optimization, customer experience and support as well as other various ways to enhance strategy and performance. 

Advertising with empathy and emotion  

Large media companies such as Hearst and News Corp have shared the advanced targeting strategies they’ve used to serve personalized ads to readers based on specific keywords within content they’re consuming or by their preferences, opinions and emotions – whether they’re in the purchasing mood or they’re feeling optimistic, for example. These targeting tactics reportedly increase ad engagement by up to 45%.

  

5.)  They aim to expand their sales efforts and diversify digital revenue streams. 

Transformation strategies  

Media companies are evolving and becoming increasingly well-rounded and full-service rather than focusing on just the buy-side or just the sell-side. Many publishers now offer agency services including SEO, website builds, paid media and more. 

Bundled sales packages  

In addition to the bundled subscription offerings mentioned previously, media companies often buy and sell bundled sales packages that include ads on various digital channels for one total price. A brand may be sponsoring a local event and contact a publisher to promote it by running sponsored content, an email campaign, online display and streaming audio ads on a relevant podcast for one price. This strategic approach is often preferred as it supports audience-based selling and streamlines sales operations, reporting and invoicing. 

Programmatic direct growth  

Premium inventory sold via programmatic guaranteed or preferred deals is now a standard practice and some publishers have recently announced plans to grow their programmatic direct business over traditional direct within the next few years. Digital teams are better adopting programmatic and a clear understanding enables them to take advantage of perks like streamlining sales operations and invoicing. 

 

To dive deeper into each of these tactics, be sure to attend our session ‘Successfully diversify and future-proof your digital revenue streams’ at our annual Global User Conference on September 26th & 27th in London. Our Digital Product Manager, Tiffany Kelly, will be moderating a panel of industry leaders as they share successful strategies for driving digital revenue. Register and view the full agenda here.