Publishers Can Use Email to Diversify Revenue Streams

Subscriptions to newspaper e-editions were the only circulation metric that grew for U.S. newspapers during the first half of 2010. As a result, publishers should consider utilizing online publishing opportunities to diversify their revenue streams in order to offset the decline in newspaper subscriptions. Here are a few opportunities that were published in a recent whitepaper by Pontiflex:

    1. Utilize customer preferences data to send targeted emails on behalf of advertisers. Advertisers are willing to pay for an engaged community. Quarter after quarter the share of display advertising has continued to fall and the interest in performance advertising has continued to grow. In the long run, a reliance on display and impressions alone may fizzle out over time as engagement metrics become easier to receive through website analytics software and email campaign click through activity reports in the WhatCounts system.


    1. Create and promote an e-edition of your newspaper that can be emailed to subscribers on a regular basis. Online newspapers are similar to hard-copy newspapers as they have the same legal boundaries, including laws regarding libel, privacy and copyright. However, the e-edition layout should be formatted so online viewers can easily scroll through the edition online. Well-established newspapers with strong brand recognition and credibility usually have close relationships with advertisers; the e-edition is an opportunity to move these advertising relationships into the online space.


    1. Send local or national promotional (dedicated advertisement) email campaigns. Major publishers like DailyCandy, McClatchy, NYTimes, SF Chronicle, San Diego Union Tribune, Thrillist and many others are monetizing their user registration path with clear, transparent sign up advertising check boxes during the registration process. Some publishers will send cross-promotion email campaigns to existing subscribers to solicit an opt-in to promotional, dedicated advertisement emails.


    1. Carefully consider current areas of your site or email campaigns that are not monetized. Go through your website to identify pages that currently do not have ads, but are visited by a certain target market. In the same fashion, go through each email campaign you send and ask yourself what business goal this email campaign is helping you achieve? Perhaps the business goal of your campaign is to maintain subscriber relationships, but some campaigns could be opportunities for ad insertions that will enhance the look of the newsletter if planned correctly. For a good example of this, visit and sign up for one of their beautifully designed newsletter templates with transparent background images that match the background of the newsletter.


    1. Provide users with a convenient and compelling experience with self-selected ads (user selects ad topics/industry they want to see) so can charge higher eCPM. Advertisers are typically willing to pay a premium for an opportunity to leave an impression on a community of readers that have expressed in their product, service or industry. Quarter after quarter, the share of display advertising has continued to fall and the share of performance advertising has continued to grow; thus, allowing users to select their advertisement preference is a golden opportunity to get long term ad placements from advertisers.


    1. A case study on (included in the whitepaper) revealed an opportunity to up-sell banner inventory, increase revenue by 50% and get the larger advertising buys by first sending an email campaign to users on behalf of the advertiser and receive a cost-per-user fee for each qualified sign-up. Nowadays, for publishers and advertisers alike, success is measured in terms of the number of users as opposed to number of site visits. As social interactions and communication increases online, it’s important for publishers to view their website as a community in which users will access their website to receive communication and even (via comments and email) communicate back to them. The closer a user feels to your community, the more comfortable a user will become with entering a progressive profiling area of your site that requests birthday, annual household income, education level and other data that advertisers are interested in knowing to make sure your users are their target market.

For more insight on how to diversify your revenue stream using email, regardless of whether you are in publishing or in a different industry, contact us so we can put you in touch with a strategic consultant from our team.


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