April 28, 2011 /

New paper: Digital Publishing – A Brave New (Metrics-driven) World

As I’ve talked with publishers recently, one thing that really distinguishes digital publishing frequently comes to the surface: the ability to have insight into how content is performing via analytics. In previous decades, publishers relied on point-of-sale data and readership surveys to gain a picture of how readers think they are using the content (is the average length of time readers spend with an article 2 or 3 or maybe even 4 minutes – more, less?). In contrast, with analytics in a digital publication, publishers have insight into the exact performance of content and advertising. For example, with analytics publishers can measure how editorial and advertising content is performing; how readers purchase, download and navigate through a digital edition; what interactivity types perform the best (video, audio, animation…); and how often readers come back to an issue.

The question that remains, however, is how publishers will be able to use analytics to further optimize and fine-tune content for greater profitability.  We’ve put together a short paper that outlines some of the possibilities.  In Digital Publishing: A Brave New (Metrics-driven) World (PDF 348kb), we highlight several scenarios in which publishers will be able to use analytics to guide decision-making.

For example, using analytics, publishers can identify bottlenecks in the conversion process using funnel analysis. Publishers seeking to understand the purchase conversion process can examine a funnel that starts with app installs, progresses through free downloads of sample content and ends with in-app purchases of content. Publishers can then fine-tune the content and experience they are providing in order to maximize user conversion.

Moreover, publishers can use navigation path analysis to determine how users interact with the different parts of a publication.  In one instance, using this analysis, a publisher discovered that some of the most valuable advertising inventory in a digital publication are those pages immediately surrounding the cover story.  As a different example of fine-tuning content for profitability, publishers in the future could also perform A/B tests to determine which cover treatment pulls more readers in – and consequently generates more revenue. On the advertising side, analytics can also provide a deeper level of insight into audiences in order to create more customized, relevant experiences for individuals or target groups.

In the paper, we suggest four guiding principles based on our experience so far with helping publishers implement analytics in their apps, including:

  1. Integrate, don’t separate your analytics from editorial and sales operations
  2. Realign your metrics for the tablet experience
  3. Embed analytics into existing workflows
  4. Be smart about rich media

With Digital Publishing Suite, customers have access to analytics technology powered by Omniture technology.  Through this tight integration, publishers can gain a deeper insight into editorial and advertising performance.  Digital Publishing Suite Professional Edition customers will have access to a base set of dashboards, and Enterprise Edition customers can access both the base set of dashboards, or extended, drill-down metrics through SiteCatalyst (subscription to SiteCatalyst sold separately).

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