Recently we covered the topic of engagement for publishers and their audience within the industry. We also conducted research and considered how gaining trust between a reader and a content producer can make all the difference to conversions. It’s worth reviewing whether engagement really is key to monetising success, and whether or not it’s critical to engage your existing customers as well as anonymous ones.

The following will look at how regular engagement can increase the conversion rates and encourage brand loyalty.

 

Why Engage?

Data is king, a phrase we are all familiar with and probably feel is overused. Why do organisations need to engage with their user base? Well, users are on the move, constantly connected, a sea of data is available to them and the time to consume is limited therefore, content needs to be pertinent and engaging. In my opinion I feel that this statement is not headlined enough. Multiple Publishers have been in the firing line recently on social platforms and blogs about the lack of engaging and quality content being produced and they themselves are worried about decreasing revenues and users dropping off! The focus needs to shift from eyeballs and ad revenue to engaging with users and driving registrations and conversions. This may also decrease the need for ad blockers! Profitable publishers monetising their content have identified audience parallels and taken users from an anonymous state and successfully managed to convert them.

A number of studies and research has shown that readers are willing to pay more for engaging and quality content that is relevant to them.

Evolok’s identity module allows organisations to understand their viewer’s identities and build a profile of the anonymous customers accessing online content. Having this data available provides detailed levels of insight about the user base in order to engage and accurately reach and convert desired segments.

Once key segments have been identified content can be tailored to user preferences. Marketing tools and campaigns can be used to target key segments, emails, offers and newsletters all triggering meaningful behaviours.

This level of audience intelligence used correctly is very likely to result in revenue increase across web properties. Turning anonymous visitors into known, loyal viewers is expected to have an impact on not just ad revenue but boost subscriptions.

Engagement is a gradual process and it’s important not to expedite the course in a rush to monetise, this could have a negative impact and put readers off. A level of trust and loyalty is commanded using a process.

 

I’ve engaged, what now?

As a business, you have taken a leap of faith and you are identifying and personalising your readers. Your readers feel engaged, and convert. What now?

As a publisher, a conversion alone does not equate to brand loyalty. If readers feel unsatisfied or disengaged at any point, they are not likely to renew. There needs to be several touch points with your users, at regular intervals and the engagement needs to remain consistent. Don’t overdo it as too many emails, offers and newsletters may deter interest and annoy readers.

The FT has an interesting take on reducing churn. They have been hosting engagement events over the past year in London to build more direct relationships with customers. In the past year alone ten of these events have been staged. Has it worked? Well according to the publisher, the Engagement scores of subscribers that have attended an event has spiked 300 per cent on average. The events have covered varying topics, such as Brexit, and they’re designed to enable subscribers to engage with journalists in real time on these topics. Read more about this initiative here.

To conclude, engagement is paramount when it comes to conversion and instilling brand loyalty. Trust is a prerequisite in the publishing business, readers love to feel valued, and not disregarded once they commit to a registration or subscription.