2019 has seen some great leaps forward in publishing, from major subscription milestones to successes in eCommerce.
Often, the headline-grabbing stories have been from larger publishers with the resources to experiment. But there are still plenty of examples that smaller publishers can learn from and apply to their own businesses in 2020.
Here are the five of the biggest opportunities for publishers over the next few years, from events to data:
1. MEMBERSHIPS AND SUBSCRIPTIONS
Reader revenue has been a hot topic in 2019, as instability and decline in advertising has put pressure on publishers to look elsewhere for sustainable sources of income.
This trend has put subscription and membership offerings firmly at the top of the agenda, with a significant number of publishers looking at how they can put together attractive packages for their readers.
But a subscription offering doesn’t have to be complex. Some publishers are beginning to see success with paid email newsletters, enabling a ‘mini membership’ option for loyal readers. Others are launching apps as a subscriber-only benefit.
In many ways, subscriptions and memberships are a very positive trend for publishers. Being dependent on readers rather than advertisers means that the interests of the audience you serve are being put first, and helps build a stronger relationship with them.
However, there are also likely to be challenges on the horizon as more companies introduce subscription models. The threat of ‘subscription fatigue’ has yet to materialise, but publishers need to be considering the potential impacts of this as we head into 2020.
2. FIRST PARTY DATA
2019 has seen the ‘death of the third party cookie’, as browsers come under increasing pressure to be privacy-focused. With Apple’s Safari and Firefox blocking third party cookies and trackers by default, and Google’s Chrome looking to introduce similar measures, publishers will have to work out ways to be less reliant on such data.
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