5 Leading Strategies Media Companies Are Using to Drive Digital Revenue

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? Here are 5 recent strategies media companies have adopted to successfully drive digital revenue. 

1.) They’re getting creative with their digital subscription offerings.

  • Pay-per-content – 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 – 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 ensure user experience is top priority.

  • Readers no longer have to tolerate mediocre content and intrusive ad units as the leading media companies continue to raise the bar in terms of 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.
  • 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.

  • The wisest media companies are well-informed about the state of data regulation and take it seriously. They are transparent about how they collect their audience data and use it responsibly.
  • 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’re forward-thinking and aren’t afraid to take risks in order to evolve with the industry.

  • Streaming media adoption – 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.
  • Leveraging AI capabilities – 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.
  • Emotion and opinion based ad targeting – large media companies such as Hearst Newspapers 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 make an effort to diversify and expand their sales efforts and digital revenue streams.

  • Expansion and diversification – media companies are making an effort to become more 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.
  • Growing programmatic direct sales over traditional direct – premium inventory sold via programmatic guaranteed or preferred deals is becoming more of a standard and growing practice. Media companies are better adopting programmatic buying/selling and, with a clear understanding, are able to take advantage of perks like streamlining sales operations and invoicing.

I’ll be moderating a panel of industry leaders during Lineup System’s annual Global User Conference in London on September 26th & 27th. Looking forward to taking a deeper dive into each of these tactics and sharing what I’ve learned.

This article also appears on our Medium publication and the Lineup Systems blog.

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