Use personalisation to entice readers, encourage subscribers to return

By Thomas Steisel


Antwerp, Belgium


As a news publisher, what challenges are keeping you up at night?

In the end, it all comes down to revenue generation. Your goal is to generate as many pageviews as possible to increase ad revenue while increasing subscription and retention rates to maximise reader revenues.

Creating AI-personalised experiences is a cornerstone of the strategies you need to tackle all these challenges. It will help you acquire new readers and subscribers and, more importantly, retain them for longer.

Artificial Intelligence can help media organisations personalise content, thereby increasing subscription and retention rates.
Artificial Intelligence can help media organisations personalise content, thereby increasing subscription and retention rates.

Changing business models

As the industry moves from an advertising-based to a subscriptions-based business model, news publishers need to pay more attention to building an online experience that appeals to their readers, enticing them to return and ultimately pay to read their news digitally in the same way that they used to pay for printed news.

The second part of this challenge is to encourage them to repeatedly renew their subscription to increase their customer lifetime value (CLV).

While personalisation plays an important role in both the acquisition and retention of readers and subscribers, here we focus on the retention of readers and subscribers.

Relevant (niche) articles + personal experience = maximum retention

True personalisation delivers more than a personal way of delivering the popular news from your Web site. Instead, every reader enjoys a different version of your Web site, complete with quality, surprising content and articles that appeal to their niche tastes and preferences. This locks them into your content and brand. It entails dynamically re-organising the focus of your Web site so each individual reader is at the centre of the content.

This personalisation has an impact on three KPIs that you should focus on to maximise retention:

1. Pageviews per session: With one of our customers, we observed that readers interacting with a Froomle recommendation read up to four articles, while other readers average just 1.2 articles per session.

Additionally, we increased the overall session length of another news publisher by 6% after deploying only two Froomle modules on its Web site, proving a personalised experience truly increases engagement, encouraging readers to stay longer and read more. This is especially important as evidence shows us that the more articles you consume, the less likely you are to churn.

2. Activated visits: You need to proactively reach your subscriber base, for example via e-mails and push notifications, to ensure it continues to consume the subscription.

Newsletters are a great tool for this. You can expect personalised ones to outperform manual ones by at least 20% based on clickthrough rate (CTR). Read this to learn about how we achieved this with Mediahuis.

3. Net promoter score (NPS): Beyond the numbers you can track on your Web site, customer satisfaction remains the main driver for retention. Personalisation provides the feeling of a seamless, uncluttered experience when reading the news. 

Personalisation encourages readers to spend more time on your Web site, consume more content, and develop a stronger connection to your brand. In general, the higher the consumption rate, the higher the retention rate, which in turn increases CLV.

About Thomas Steisel

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