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Driving Subscriptions With Mobile Interactive Content

Acquiring new subscribers is harder than ever before, which is why leading publishers are turning to interactive content to engage and convert readers.

Mobile-First Readers

The shift to mobile is undeniable; consumers spend nearly five hours on their phones each day perusing social networks, checking emails and text messages, and reading the news. Those who read the news online spend the vast majority of their time reading it on mobile devices.

But how do you convert those mobile readers into paying subscribers?

It isn’t easy. A third of global pageviews are affected by ad blocking, and mobile sees three times the blocking rate of desktop. That severely limits your paid advertising capabilities. Ad blockers and dwindling subscription rates pushed publishers to try popups prompting readers to enter their email. Those seemed to work in the short-term, but largely served to annoy readers trying to read publisher content (and, indirectly, see if it’s worth subscribing to).

Google realized how disruptive those interstitials were to the user experience, and recently announced a change to its algorithms. After January 10, 2017, pages where users can’t easily access content will not rank as high in mobile searches.

What does that mean for publishers? Showing a popup that covers content – before or after a user goes to the page from their search results – won’t cut it anymore.

Focusing on the Reader Experience

Every change Google has made to its algorithms in the last couple years improved the user experience, particularly on mobile devices. It’s time for publishers to do the same, because creating a positive reader experience will pay dividends.

Readers like quality content and feeling listened to. So, what can publishers do for them?

Create content built for mobile that engages readers immediately.

A great way to do that is using mobile interactive content. It stands out in the sea of static, written posts. Mobile interactive content can take many forms: It can be a quiz, an interactive infographic, interactive video, and more.

Gannett has rolled out mobile interactive content to several of its more than 100 publications, using our platform. Most recently, five Gannett newspapers ran an interactive Olympics recap quiz to stand out with their Rio coverage. Those who took the quiz could enter their email to see their results and unlock a special subscription offer. Readers who entered their email but didn’t claim the offer were segmented into an engaged sports audience for email remarketing. With this mobile interactive content, Gannett still gave readers high quality content, but did it in a unique, engaging way. They also captured emails without having to use a popup that doesn’t offer readers any value.

Using Interactive Content to Drive Subscriptions

Interactive content engages readers, but it also captures significantly more data than static content. In every quiz, infographic, or video, you can capture data about each reader’s interests, opinions, and tastes. That knowledge can help you hone your remarketing.

The Boston Globe’s consumer marketing team has been using interactive content for nine months now. They’ve published content on everything from Boston sports, to politics, to dining, and history. Each piece of interactive content captured emails, allowing the Globe to profile each consumer who engaged. Over time, the Globe’s consumer marketing team built out segments for email newsletter remarketing. They were able to send newsletters to readers based on their declared preferences, and nurture them along the path to a paid subscription. This tactic works, as people are two times more likely to subscribe if they get a newsletter.

Using our interactive content platform to power audience segmentation also made the Globe’s remarketing more efficient. The cost per lead dropped by 94% and their Facebook ad relevance score increased by 166%. Interactive content helps the consumer marketing team nurture engaged readers along the path to paid subscriptions.

Publishers know it’s time to try something new, and what better time than the Digiday Publishing Summit to think about how to get started with interactive content to drive subscriptions?

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