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Jacob Donnelly has been writing from a deserted New York about how publishers can make more money if they get smarter about who they target for subscription sales. His central point is that publishers too often forget about individual user needs in their subscription management efforts and they really shouldn’t.
It might seem like common sense, but Jacob points out that readers that don’t visit a site frequently are unlikely to fork out for a subscription. Similarly, trying to sell out-of-towners a local subscription seems likely to meet with limited success. And drive-by referrals are not prime subs fodder.
“Treating everyone the same minimizes your revenue potential,” he says. “Some people should be monetized with ads. Some should be monetized with subscriptions. And some should be pushed to a free sign up so that they can be nurtured. If we’re smarter with this, we’ll make more money.”
I’m putting this piece in today’s newsletter specifically for Esther (although she’s probably read it already). The MV WhatsApp has been ringing to complaints of collapsing engagement on the one-time bird app. Now we know it’s not just us; data from Automattic shows traffic from X fell by 24% on average between the first half of 2022 and the first half of 2023. Bye Bye Birdy!!!
Just like Twitter X traffic, there seems to be a lot less AI news about. This piece from The Verge is worth highlighting though – instead of reporting yet more copyright challenges, it’s looking at whether publishers can build AI chatbots trained on their archives. We know it’s possible because we spoke to Rafat Ali about it in July, but his article offers some interesting perspective from The Foundry.
It’s good that investment is continuing in these US learning communities, targeted at American publishing professionals who are developing expertise, sharing best practices, and solving common challenges. What’s interesting is that although this is a US initiative, the focus for each of the four groups – philanthropy and fundraising, audience development, statewide news and city news are challenges for news outlets everywhere.
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