Paywalls and social performance

Paywalls and social performance

Advertising as a revenue source for publishers is in trouble so this year’s megatrend is digital subscriptions. Reuters Institute highlighted Nordic publishers as the forerunners of digital subscriptions, but the trend is now global since more and more publishers are doubling down on paywall content and technology (FIPP).

Reuters Institute Report on Journalism, Media and Technology Trends and Predictions 2019

When business models move towards subscriptions, what does this mean for your social media team and social performance in general?

Social traffic declined for many publishers last year, following Facebook’s de-prioritization of content from brands and publishers. If traffic is your main source of revenue, it makes sense to focus distribution in places that bring more of it.

But if your goal is to attract and retain digital subscribers, social engagement is still a metric you need to pay attention to.

Readers still share and engage with media content on social networks. As a publisher, knowing what’s trending in these circles can help your social media team identify which stories to promote in your feeds, which ones are worth a follow-up due to continued interest, or even which articles to put behind a paywall.

Get in touch to join our Audience Metrics pilot [email protected]

At the top of your reader funnel, your editorial team needs to see what’s trending to ensure you don’t miss out on a story.

If your publication often misses out on the talk of the town, how likely are your readers to subscribe or renew their subscription? This is where social performance is key to benchmark content and find ways to cover topics in an engaging way.

Moving further down the funnel to winning subscribers, your social media team needs to identify what and when to share on your channels to maximize reach.

If your competitor’s social performance has grown while yours has declined, will your subscription team worry about meeting their conversion and retention targets? Most likely.

The goal of your social posts might still be primarily to drive traffic. But now, it’s to earn digital subscriptions from new and current readers, instead of signing ad contracts based on clicks.

Finally, you need to keep engaging your subscribers. They are more likely to be served your posts on Facebook, so you need to make sure these posts share relevant and timely content. But on top of social performance you need to see your website traffic to get the full picture of your audience behavior.

With the paywall in place, your readers’ behavior is the key predictor of your publication’s success. This means that together with page views and time spent, social engagement continues to play an important part in understanding, attracting, and retaining your audience.

That’s why we’re building an extension to Realtime that combines your traffic data with social performance. Reach out to us if you want to join the pilot and be among the first to test the new feature ([email protected]).