LiveIntent Reports 32% Revenue Increase Across Publisher Newsletters

In late March, email marketing platform LiveIntent began a study of how its local media newsletter clients were performing. What it found is newsletters among that group report a 45% increase in impressions and a 32% increase in revenue, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

The data and revenue increases are based on the performance of the marketing units LiveIntent places in the emails sent by local news publisher clients, said Kerel Cooper, senior vice president at LiveIntent.

LiveIntent counts more than 2,500 publisher and brand partners.

Cooper spoke with Publishers Daily about how local media can turn newsletter success into a lasting revenue stream.

Publishers Daily: What do these numbers tell you about the relationship between local media and readers? How are newsletters unique to that relationship?

Kerel Cooper: Local media serves a crucial function in society, and the fact that so many are in dire straits is a real worry for a functioning democracy. Local media serves, like no one else, to inform specific communities about the forces shifting their lives.



I live in Middlesex County in New Jersey, in between New York and Philadelphia, and neither city's media serves our community like or Patch. We may not be New York or Philadelphia, but we have our own politics, our own issues when it comes to schools, housing, crime and the environment, and we need our own journalists to cover it.

When these local publications hand over their best inventory to the walled gardens, like Facebook and Google, they’re handing their best content to a platform. Email lets a publisher own their relationship with their readers. There is no intermediary in email, only people to monetize that inventory. Within email, the publisher is able to create a secure, logged-in, brand safe environment for advertisers to reach engaged, known people informed by data, in content they’ve raised their hand and asked for. 

PD: How can publishers turn these gains into lasting revenue streams?

KC: Monetizing the email channel itself is simple, and impactful, as it plugs into the larger digital advertising ecosystem and brings all the demand informed by intent on the web into the email channel. In the short-term, monetization itself is incredibly valuable, but there are many long-term benefits for publishers by investing in their email, including:

Subscriptions: What publishers have discovered is that the email address, and its verification and authentication by their deployment in email newsletters, both represent the key data point and the key interaction for driving subscriptions. The insights mined from the email newsletter are the backbone of a dynamic paywall strategy.

Dynamic paywalls are all the rage for publishers, and it makes sense. Publishers are trying to nurture a subscription from a reader by giving them just enough content that they get hooked and understand what they lose by not paying for it. The newsletter acts as a bridge, letting publishers entice customers, determining who needs to be nurtured, and who needs to be cut off.

Someone who rarely opens a newsletter won’t respond positively when their rare attempts to visit a news site are stymied by a paywall. However, a person who regularly reads 11 articles per month on a publication’s site would feel the pinch from a six-article limit. Having the interaction between email and site is the key to driving dynamic paywalls, so when the crisis lifts, publishers can use that data to drive subscriptions to those most likely to subscribe.

In order to properly administer a dynamic paywall, a publisher needs to understand its relationship with each potential subscriber. This approximation is primarily made by analyzing and making decisions based on first-party data. But in a world of proliferating devices, the ability to tie that first-party data to a person and not just a device, requires an email address, which cuts to the heart of identity.

Identity: The email address can be used to drive up the value of advertising well outside of the email channel. Its implementation is crucial for identity solutions that bring addressability to a publisher’s online inventory. The best identity solutions rely on the power of email, since the email address is closely tied to a person and works across devices. By having as big an email asset as possible, a publisher is in the best position possible to control their destiny.
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