Last year, even with pressures on consumer wallets and marketing budgets, we experienced a healthy uptick in digital publishing revenues. Advertising rebounded across B2B and B2C, sponsorship revenues flourished with topic and channel diversification and audiences voted with their recurring spend for quality content that cuts through noise and delivers real value.
It is of no surprise that all eyes are on product development to capitalise on these trends. Whether playing for marketing or audience spend, publishers are on a mission to ensure products perform well beyond aesthetics to provide a fast, seamless, intuitive and connected experience.
For many, this means a methodical review of technology – not only for the product but the infrastructure supporting the entire experience including CRM, CDP, paywall, analytics, marketing tools and integrations.
Tough decisions need to be made, hedging bets on revenue levers with the strongest and longest ROI; naturally cutting off tails of incremental streams that harm, dilute or distract from them.
A systematic approach
1) Develop OKRs.
Agree on sole or primary business model/s to match core strengths against requirements, eg:
- Audience revenues: Strength: unique, expert, must-have content. Requirement: registration, nurture, hard / soft / metered paywall, personalisation.
- Advertising: Strength: sufficient volume or appeal to capitalise on programmatic partnerships; or hyper-targeted audience for direct. Requirement: Web Core Vitals to optimise inventory, design consideration for ads.
- Sponsorship: Strength: first-party engaged audience of interest to an accessible pool of customers. Requirement: multiple, connected channels to attract strategic spend, analytics for demonstrable ROI.
- Ecommerce / affiliate: Strength: product relevance and audience buying intent. Requirement: smooth purchase experience, minimised performance impact.
2) Breakdown software – proprietary, SaaS or third party – that touches digital experience.
Audience and buyer experience are a given, but internal users are often overlooked. Human friction costs time, slowing organic product development.
3) Score technology against the overall business objectives.
- Prioritise them by impact.
- How well are they currently serving business objectives?
4) Where you find high priority technology underperforming against objectives, you know you have a problem.
This can be overwhelming when faced with a multitude of options. And rarely is it a singular decision, rather a set of decisions that balance business continuity with performing surgery on the heart of your business.
The key is consistency and fidelity to OKRs. Making long-term, strategic decisions in technology has never been more important to prevent overspend on things that don’t matter and future major organ surgery. Composable, connectable technology that supports objectives and future proofs a stack means joined-up decisions at the highest level.
- Start and finish with business outcomes
- Pick a lane; think holistically and realistically
- Simplify stack with focus; less can be more
- Plan for continuous evolution, not a one-drop fix.
With a combined experience of over 80 years in the publishing industry, Full Fat Things works with B2B and B2C publishing businesses to develop sustainable digital products with deep integrations with infrastructure and workflows. We create fully customised outcomes using open-source software to enable ultimate flexibility now and in the future.
Tel: 020 7099 3875
This article was first published in the Publishing Partners Guide (PPG) 2023, which is published and distributed by InPublishing. You can register to receive InPublishing magazine here.