3 Ways Media and Publishing Brands are Using First-Party Data to Drive Subscription Value

Before the days of iPhones and Twitter feeds, publishers garnered reader subscriptions by being the first to break stories and inform the public. In today’s hyper-connected world, news travels at the speed of real-time, and access to noteworthy details and diverse opinions is merely a click (or tap) away. While media brands have previously had little reason to prompt visitors to create a user account at the point of entry, first-party data is becoming a necessity for creating relevant reader experiences that drive subscriptions.

As touchpoints multiply and consumer attention spans shrink, leading publishers are turning to social login to give readers a fast and easy way to authenticate their identities and gain access to the rich, permission-based first-party data housed in their social profiles. 44% of Gigya media clients report a more than 25% boost in registration conversions since implementing social login (TechValidate).

Let’s break down 3 ways top media and publishing brands are using first-party data to create subscription-worthy user experiences, and how you can start driving reader registration, engagement and retention in just 3 simple steps.

Give Your Audience More Personalized Content

Social login data enables your brand to feature posts relevant to the interests and lifestyles expressed in readers’ social profiles. The ability to connect all on-site reader behavior and preferences to a single, known identity makes it possible to refine content shown to readers based on their behaviors and preferences over time. It also allows readers to build customized user profiles featuring content only around the topics they want to see.

With over 44% of consumers under 35 visiting websites on their phones on a weekly basis (Experian), mobile content consumption is growing. Mobile’s smaller touchscreen makes it particularly difficult and time consuming for readers to weed through irrelevant content, making an identity-centric view of readers increasingly important to creating cohesive, personalized experiences across channels and devices.

78% of consumers believe that organizations that provide custom content are interested in building good relationships with them (CMO Council), and 60% feel more positive about a company after reading custom content on its site (ContentPlus). If these feelings of trust and goodwill don’t lead to subscriptions and loyal readership, then what will?

Get Rid of Spammy Tactics

I know I’m not alone when I say that nothing is more distracting when you’re trying to read than a totally irrelevant ad taking over your screen. 88% of US consumers claim they have been flooded with “online ad spam,” and 9 out of 10 say this has led them to take actions ranging from leaving the website to boycotting the brand (Marketing Charts).

For example, I recently visited one of my favorite blogs when I was so inundated with ads for online dating services that I decided to leave. Being newly engaged, I would have gladly stayed – and potentially even clicked – had these same placements featured wedding dresses!

First-party login data enables media brands to match ad placements to users’ individual real-time interests and needs, eliminating these types of irrelevant experiences. And your readers aren’t the only ones who will appreciate more tailored ad placements – two of Gigya’s major publishing clients recently found a 50% increase in advertiser revenue thanks to the ability to target placements based on users’ social profile and behavior data.

Prompting readers to login at site entry also fosters a more genuine and personal user experience. Authenticating identity and tying all on-site activity to a reader profile is proven to reduce comment spam and build a more enjoyable and engaged site community.

Enable Social Connectivity

A recent survey by Pew found that 75% of news consumed online happens via links on social networking websites or in email (Smashing Magazine). By authenticating with a social identity, readers gain the ability to seamlessly share their favorite content with their social networks with the click of a button. Not only does social sharing data give publishers enhanced insight into readers’ preferences, but it also generates word-of-mouth marketing for your brand. 19% of Gigya media clients using share have seen a 30-50% increase in referral traffic (TechValidate).

Social login data around users’ social connections creates stickier, more engaging reader experiences by taking conversations and interactions that would typically happen on social networks and moving them to your site. Publishers like LA Times are featuring real-time activity feeds highlighting articles recommended by readers’ personal social connections, as well as showcasing their comments, discussions and recent on-site activity.

3 Steps to Greater Subscription Value

Here are 3 simple steps you can take to start collecting and leveraging first-party data to improve subscriptions:

1: Give users a fast and easy way to tell you who they are via social login. This is especially critical on smaller mobile screens. Let them know the data points you are looking to collect upfront, and inform them of how this information will help improve their user experience.

2: Leverage a robust identity storage database that can handle traditional demographic and complex social and psychographic data. Connect this database to a marketer-friendly dashboard that breaks data down into actionable consumer insights and segments.

3: Provide readers with opportunities to interact with their social communities around your content and brand. Bake social connectivity into your user experience by adding social sharing and live activity feeds.

Interested in learning more about how first-party login data can be used to benefit your business? Download our white paper, Making Sense of Consumer Data.

By Tobias Meyer-Grunow