While reading the new WAN-IFRA report “Engaged Readers Don’t Churn—Retention lessons for digital subscriptions”, one key stat stood out: German newspaper Die Welt found that half of their new subscribers were leaving in the first three months, after which the churn rate dropped to 1-2% monthly. So how can newspapers who have already succeeded by convincing digital readers to pay for a subscription then keep those readers engaged?
, one key stat stood out: German newspaper Die Welt found that half of their new subscribers were leaving in the first three months, after which the churn rate dropped to 1-2% monthly. So how can newspapers who have already succeeded by convincing digital readers to pay for a subscription then keep those readers engaged?
Lesson 1: Great content needs great products
Does the same content that triggers a reader to finally subscribe help keep them engaged and prevent them from churning? It depends on who you ask. Many publishers, including Norwegian local media group Amedia, think that the same content that converts is what best helps to retain. As CDO Pål Nedregotten explains, the important aspect is to create local value for
Yet Svenska Dagbladet, a Schibsted title, found otherwise. Editorial Head of Premium Anna Careborg shared that their data shows there is specific content that is anti-churn. While “need to know” articles, such as world events, is key
It’s also useful to remind readers of all the quality journalism you have produced, something The Washington Post recently did with subscribers on the 1 year anniversary of their subscribing. Subscribers received an email looking back at the top stories since they subscribed; the mail also thanked them for their subscriptions and offered a small discount for year two.
“It’s crucial to keep the products state-of-the-art, technically as well as from a design and user experience point of view. It’s a big focus and a hard job: you have to improve constantly.” – Johannes Hauner, Head of Product at Süddeutsche Zeitung
Still, content alone won’t prevent churn, it is important to also focus on the reading experience itself. For French newspaper Le
Lesson 2: Make it easier to subscribe (and unsubscribe!)
Some of your new subscribers may have never intended to become long-term subscribers, instead only subscribing to access a specific article. However French newspaper Le
MittMedia follows a similar philosophy, something that has helped them reach an
“We make it easy to come and go, which has contributed to us attracting 19-year-olds to pay–audiences who’ve hardly ever been customers of ours.” – Robin Govik, Chief Digital Officer at MittMedia
Still, don’t make it too easy to unsubscribe: make sure you aren’t losing subscribers due to credit card processing errors. We’ve discussed these “involuntary churners” before, readers who would stay subscribed but accidentally churn because their credit cards have expired. To remedy this, The Washington Post’s Miki Toliver King recommends having a more active strategy of reaching readers at risk: instead of simply sending an email reminder, she implemented
Lesson 3: Use the data you already have
In contrast to print subscribers, you most likely already collect daily data on your digital subscribers. Use this data to understand where the leaks are in your engagement
“Understanding what the secret is to getting a subscriber to visit more often is really critical because we know that more visits lead to deeper engagement, leads to retention.” – Peter Doucette, former Chief Consumer Revenue Officer at The Boston Globe
While there is no industry standard for a loyalty metric or KPI, publishers are busy testing out different methods. The Financial Times uses a Recency-Frequency-Volume metric, looking at reader
Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet uses an engaged time metric, looking at the level of satisfaction within their logged-in readers. Elsewhere in Sweden, MittMedia has even created a real-time user activity map that shows how many paying subscribers have been active on any given day. Other publishers look at engagement itself, such as German daily Aachener Zeitung and Belgian publishing group Mediahuis who both use our EngageReaders tool.
Republished with kind permission of Twipe Mobile