In a post-scale era, publishers reposition audience development to pursue loyalty and subs

In a post-scale era, publishers reposition audience development to pursue loyalty and subs
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Once upon a time, audience development was all about pursuing eyeballs, often on platforms. But with the scale era waning and increased focus on subscriber revenue, many publishers are taking a team-of-team approach to pursuing goals beyond pageviews and uniques, often zeroing in on loyalty and propensity to subscribe. For example, six months ago, The Economist created three dedicated “tribes” — one each for its desktop site, its mobile app and its newsletters — comprising staffers from product, audience and editorial. Those five- to six-person tribes meet weekly to work together on product and strategy, with a goal of advancing KPIs like growing readers’ time on site or getting subscribers to open the mobile app more frequently. The Economist’s moves are part of a broader effort among some publishers to focus bigger portions of their workforce on growing consumer revenues and to align around shared metrics and goals, rather than pursuing different goals, which sometimes sit at cross-purposes to one another. “There has been tension in the past [between these groups],” said Anna Rawling, evp of consumer experience and product strategy at The Economist. “People still have their own agendas, but this provides a very good steer.” Creating units that merge multiple groups together has other advantages. At The Washington Post, for example, something as simple as figuring out a marketing newsletter strategy used to take weeks, as individual teams within the Post would work on projects or campaigns one at a time. Today, thanks to a 15-person subscriptions […]

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