An Emerging Content Monetization Model for Publishers

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What industry faces a fundamental shift in their business model today more so than publishing? It’s hard to say. The decline of print publishing has been discussed for years, yet the growth in online delivery (and revolution in revenue models) can’t be ignored.

The reality remains that people read more now than they have at any time in the past. However, they simply do the overwhelming majority of their reading on a smartphone and not from a book, newspaper or magazine. While print will not completely disappear, it is clearly incumbent upon publishers to adapt their model to current and future realities to meet the public’s needs.

Catering to consumers’ media habits means more than simply providing a digital copy of our material. Free content is now expected and it is ubiquitous. If you can continue to charge for subscriptions, great for you! Keep going and get as many subs as you possibly can. However, for many of us, the reality is not as kind. With myriad free options on the same subject matter, more and more readers will choose to save their money and choose one of these free options. Yes, a side debate can be made for what this means for the quality of writing in general and journalism in particular, but that is outside the scope of this piece.

Reinvigorating the Publishing Business

In order to succeed in a challenging media environment, smart publishers are rethinking their revenue model. Long-gone are the days where advertisers are perfectly happy running a print ad; they often demand tangible results and ROI.

While most publishers can provide basic digital metrics for web ads and newsletters, this type of data doesn’t equate to proof of sale. General data such as click-through-rates and impressions usually can’t be tied to the success of an ad campaign. Therefore, advertisers keep pushing for better marketing attribution, and do not necessary look towards traditional publishers to get there – but this can change.

How to Attribute Campaign Success to Publishing Products

Unless publishers use some form of web visitor tracking software, providing tangible results to advertisers can be challenging. While there may be opt-in boxes and cookie-tracking notifications needed, a publisher (when equipped with fine print) can be the conduit to an advertiser’s success.

Providing data to advertisers about who is interested is the obvious benefit of lead generation software. However, publishers can do even more than that. Unlike Google, publishers have the talent and creativity to create demand for an advertiser’s product or service through advertorials, contests, content for download– and anything a marketing services shop can provide (which Google can’t). As long as publishers can capture an email address legally, and have lead tracking software, publishers are one step away from providing advertisers with interested buyers. From lead information to custom audiences for targeting, the right tools will make advertising with publishers far more appealing. 

Beyond Audience Data

Perhaps providing audience data directly to advertisers may be questionable in some countries, and if audiences disable cookie tracking or refuse to provide email addresses, the ability to give advertisers lead data may be tricky. Nevertheless, when you begin to see who responds to different marketing tactics, you can create personas and segments with marketing workflows that further engage them. This is particularly important for publishers offering market services as they must assess and optimize which marketing strategies are working.

Nowadays ordinary publishing CRMs are not doing enough to grow revenue, but the framework for evolving the ad-revenue model is already in place. In fact, even if you cannot share information about your web visitors, web visitor tracking is still the ultimate shortcut for identifying potential advertisers. Why not reach a prospect that already loves your publishing products and reads them avidly? Reaching out to a “fan” means you don’t have to explain the value of what you have.

To see what web visitor tracking software can do for publishers, please request a demo

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