“We’re all the time looking for new methods”: How NOLA.com and The Advocate elevated engagement and subscriptions | What’s New in Publishing


Utilizing a buyer information platform (CDP) and push know-how

Publishers that drive income from subscriptions are always straddled with balancing acquisition and retention. They need to depend on discovering the “proper time” and “proper method” to make an ask. 

NOLA.com (New Orleans) and TheAdvocate.com (Baton Rouge), the web sites for the most important information group in Louisiana, aren’t any completely different. With publishing roots courting again to the 1800s, Capital Metropolis Press – the manufacturers’ dad or mum firm, a part of Georges Media Group – depends closely on paid digital subscriptions to drive income and speed up development.

However successfully enhancing subscriber acquisition and retention means accessing unified, actionable first-party information and the flexibility to orchestrate cross-channel touchpoints to have interaction with subscribers and non-subscribers in significant methods.

The corporate’s vice chairman of shopper income, Kyle Whitfield, weighs in on how the corporate is utilizing first-party information, together with curiosity information, behavioral information, and subscription standing, to supply related and well timed browser notifications that gasoline engagement, subscriptions, loyalty, and income.

Notifications that preserve prospects tuned in, not turned off

“In our pursuit of rising digital subscriptions, we’re all the time looking for new methods to achieve our most loyal audiences,” says Whitfield. “Once we analyzed our digital subscribers, we discovered a formidable share of customers have been e-mail publication subscribers, which wasn’t an enormous shock. However we additionally discovered {that a} sizable group additionally subscribes to our desktop push notifications.”

Push notifications are alert-style messages delivered on desktop and cell units that web site guests opt-in to. “With a number of thousand loyal readers actively utilizing desktop push notifications, we thought, why not use it to market digital subscriptions?” Whitfield continued. So he approached his buyer information platform (CDP) vendor, BlueConic, and push notification vendor, Pushly, to determine a solution to make it occur.

Unifying first-party information to personalize at scale

Whitfield and his workforce leverage BlueConic to gather and consolidate consented first-party information into individual-level profiles. With entry to unified, actionable profiles, NOLA.com and The Advocate can use up-to-date information to grasp the place a selected subscriber or potential subscriber is of their lifecycle, create dynamic segments primarily based on their latest behaviors, interactions, subscription standing, consent standing, and extra, and activate these segments throughout channels to drive smarter engagement.

So as to use desktop push notifications to drive subscriptions, the corporate needed to clear a number of key hurdles. First, they wanted to have an correct document of profiles that have been opted into desktop push notifications. To establish these customers, the workforce used a knowledge assortment function in BlueConic often known as Listeners. The listener picks up the data from Pushly and robotically provides it to their particular person profiles in BlueConic, creating an correct and up-to-date document of which profiles are opted into desktop push.

Subsequent, the workforce wanted to make sure they weren’t sending subscription-related advertising and marketing messages to desktop push notification customers who have been already subscribers. Utilizing BlueConic Connections to go profile information to Pushly about who’s a subscriber and who shouldn’t be, the workforce ensured subscription-related messages weren’t despatched to the unsuitable folks.

Lastly, the workforce needed to account for customers who might not go to the location incessantly however had a change in subscription standing. This was finished utilizing an Amazon S3 bucket to push up to date subscription information to Pushly.

Experiment, take a look at, and be taught

With the information integrations in place, NOLA.com and The Advocate kicked off quite a few small campaigns to check this new cross-channel tactic, beginning with their “Love New Orleans, Know New Orleans” marketing campaign.

Utilizing the segmentation capabilities of their CDP, the workforce created a small phase of customers who had visited the location at the least as soon as throughout a one-week interval and whose final engagement got here from a desktop pc. These segments have been then despatched to Pushly for activation. Inside 24 hours, the marketing campaign generated a 1.76% click-through price and 6 direct conversions. However maybe equally vital to the outcomes it produced was the operational efficiencies it created.

Six new paid subscribers isn’t an enormous quantity, nevertheless it solely took us 5 minutes to construct this marketing campaign. If I can get six subscriptions by way of a marketing campaign that solely took us 5 minutes to create, that’s a significant win for us.

Kyle Whitfield, VP Client Income, NOLA.com & The Advocate

Whitfield additionally famous how the brand new tactic is accelerating the tempo at which they will attain new folks and get them into their checkout stream. “Let’s say somebody clicks on a Pushly digital subscription provide and enters their e-mail deal with, however doesn’t place their order to change into a paid subscriber. At the least we’ve earned the chance to e-mail that particular person and retarget them with an abandonment provide. So even when somebody doesn’t convert straight from desktop push, simply getting them into our checkout funnel is admittedly vital.”

A CDP use case roadmap for achievement

Since their preliminary exams, NOLA.com and The Advocate have began to discover further CDP use instances to extend each income and operational effectivity. As Whitfield notes, “You are able to do lots with the segmentation and the lifecycle orchestration capabilities in our CDP to see what strikes the needle probably the most.” 

As an example, the workforce plans to check drip campaigns utilizing BlueConic and Pushly as a solution to increase subscriptions. “When somebody interacts with a desktop push notification a couple of subscription provide however doesn’t convert, they are often robotically flowed right into a phase that receives a drip provide a pair days later. So, you may get fairly subtle with it.”

Whitfield additionally pressured the advantages of utilizing BlueConic’s segmentation capabilities to uncover new insights and discover methods to attach with prospects with extra related messages. “By experimenting with segments, we will have a look at issues like who’s studying what, who’s coming from which referral supply, who visits us lots however doesn’t subscribe to our publication, and extra. For instance, utilizing the Curiosity Ranker listener, we have been in a position to uncover quite a few people who learn articles about LSU and the Saints, however don’t subscribe to the LSU or Saints e-mail publication. We have been then in a position to make use of that perception to focus on that phase with messaging to join the publication.”

A profitable new income stream

Up to now in 2022, combining advert income from desktop push notifications referrals and subscription income from push advertising and marketing, NOLA.com and The Advocate is averaging about $3,500/month in incremental income.

When requested for recommendation for others who need to unlock the facility of first-party information and desktop push notifications to energy subscription advertising and marketing efforts, Whitfield pressured the significance of testing and studying round all the things – ship time, calls to motion, and images, as only a few examples. 

Consider it nearly like e-mail communication. Persons are inviting you to straight message them. Have a plan. Be considerate and fascinating.

Kyle Whitfield, VP Client Income, NOLA.com & The Advocate


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