Publishers are facing tremendous pressure when it comes to delivering on audience expectations for personalization. Thanks to the powerful algorithms in place at some of the big tech platforms, consumers expect that same just-for-them experience from every digital interaction.
With the death of cookies on the horizon, publishers may feel like they’re losing their last best hope. It’s impossible to deliver personalized content to every subscriber manually. And with budgets shrinking thanks to social, and search sucking up the vast majority of ad spend, there’s no way publishers can afford their own powerful algorithms.
But with audiences demanding more, publishers’ personalization must evolve beyond a generic “Dear <Firstname>,” email greeting. It’s simply not enough. Subscribers want curated content that’s relevant and engaging based on their likes and interests.
“We touch on such wide range of topics a — we have subscribers who are interested in astronomy but not gardening or fishing — and with 160,000 subscribers, there’s no way we have the manpower to personalize our content distribution for everyone,” said Frank Pagano, digital marketing manager at Farmers’ Almanac. “We needed a solution to track and analyze audience behavior and interests and also index our content to match the right person with the right content.”
To solve that problem, Pagano discovered a new breed of content curation and distribution technology that leverages artificial intelligence and automated messaging to deliver personalized email and push notifications that engage audiences and keeps them coming back. Similar to a marketing automation platform but built specifically for publishers, automated messaging platforms like Jeeng give even the smallest publishers the capability to deliver the right content to the right person over the right channel at the right time to elicit maximum engagement.
While it might feel the walls are crumbling as cookies go away, the truth is publishers are actually sitting on a goldmine — a loyal and trusting audience. But many don’t have the tools in place to leverage it. In fact, new data shows that consumer trust in traditional media far outpaces trust in social media by nearly 4X. And among those who subscribe to publishers’ content via email — roughly half of all consumers — trust and loyalty are the top reasons why.
This powerful combination of audience trust and loyalty gives publishers a tremendous opportunity to connect directly with their audiences over channels they can control. By leveraging personalized messaging technology, publishers can cut out the social and search middlemen, and automatically deliver curated, valuable, relevant content that drives site traffic and revenue.
“Because we’re able to send content that caters to a readers’ particular interest, instead of just generic batch-and-blast emails, we’ve seen increases in both our click-thru rates and traffic on our website,” Pagano says. “Plus, we can track what content each user engages with, and what they don’t, to continuously refine our content recommendations and timing. No email service providers offer this capability, and if it weren’t for the Jeeng platform, there’s no way we could do it manually.”
In addition to boosting revenue by driving increased site traffic, Farmers’ Almanac has also begun monetizing its email and push notifications with embedded ads using the same technology platform. This has created an entirely new revenue stream that more than pays for the content curation and automated messaging service. And because the ads are strategically placed within email content — unlike some competitors whose entire email send is one big ad — Pagano says they’re much more effective and less offensive to subscribers.
“It’s become one of the most stable revenue streams we’ve found so far, boosting our revenue from email and push alone by 110% a month,” he said. “I know those emails our competitor sends out with one big banner ad get a lot of pushback because we often get complaints from their subscribers by mistake. We don’t see that kind of backlash for ours, and it’s working really well for us.”
As publishers like Farmers’ Almanac and dozens of others have found, creating that 1:1 connection directly with audiences is critical for driving engagement and revenue. Personalization plays a huge role in keeping subscribers engaged and coming back, but it’s getting harder to do without cookies.
For smaller publications that don’t have the resources or manpower to implement AI and automation technologies — and even for those that do — deploying a personalized, automated messaging platform is a simple, affordable solution to take back the audience relationship.
By leveraging this technology to give subscribers exactly what they want over channels you control, publishers can end their reliance on cookies, social, and search and instead build direct, trusted, and relevant relationships with their audiences to drive engagement and revenue.