Evolok names digital media trends to watch in 2023

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With a recession in the UK and other major markets now looking almost certain, media brands are facing the twin possibility of falling customer sales and declining ad budgets, as consumers and brands make cutbacks.

Print sales have already been falling for many years and will continue to decline regardless of these economic headwinds. 

All this, says Reehan Sheikh, CEO and Founder of subscriptions management platform, Evolok, makes digital monetisation tactics absolutely mission critical if media brands are to survive and even thrive. 

And he’s outlined five key strategies that publishers will be prioritising as they prepare for tough times ahead.

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Reehan Sheikh, Founder and CEO, Evolok.

A focus on virtual events

Publishers have been eagerly moving into events for years, opening up lucrative revenue streams in the process. In fact, events can often make up as much as 20% of a media brands turnover. 

As we head into a recession, events should be an even bigger focus and catering for virtual audiences should be a particular priority. 

The possibilities are endless – from multi-day online exhibitions and cultural events to focused digital seminars and webinars on specific topics. 

The key is to make it relevant to the subscriber base and complement your editorial offering, creating opportunities to expand partnerships with important brands. 

When done right, these events can become self-sustaining businesses in their own right, driving a publisher’s revenues and keeping subscribers – both existing and prospective – coming back for more.

Creating new revenue streams with NFTs

NFT’s (non-fungible tokens) may have had a difficult year after meteoric rises in 2020 and 2021, but, make no mistake, the long-term growth trajectory remains the same and they are going to become increasingly important to publishers. 

Almost any digital asset can be converted into an NFT and sold to readers – whether it’s exclusive news stories, high profile interview features, front pages, photographs, artwork, videos, podcasts and more.

For a publication with content going back decades, the potential is absolutely massive. 

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Token times: Evolok’s Sheikh sees big opportunities for media firms with NFTs.

One of the key attributes of the NFT market is that it represents a segment that skews to the young and affluent. Interest in the technology tends to come from tech-savvy consumers that are looking to invest disposable income. 

This means NFTs also represent a prime opportunity for expanding the overall demographic of a publisher and unlocking a cohort that is extremely attractive to advertisers.

AI-led tools to cut the churn

Even before the cost-of-living crisis reared its ugly head, customer churn was a major challenge for media brands, with increasingly fierce competition in the subscriptions market. 

Now, with many consumers struggling to make ends meet, subscriptions risk being seen as an extravagance too far. 

To avoid falling into this trap, publishers need to work even harder to minimise customer churn. Thankfully, the latest in AI-led subscription tools can help here. 

The more advanced, dynamic subscription platforms are able to analyse how their customers interact with their online platform – how often they visit the site, how long they stay, the articles they read, etc. 

With this insight, a publisher can then automatically identify subscribers that might be about to churn and take action to prevent this. This could be proactively emailing them with a special offer, discount or even a personalised gift to keep them engaged.

Using data analytics to improve user experience

If publishers want to keep their existing customers and attract new ones, it’s critical that they continuously find ways to improve and enhance the user experience on their platform. 

Another benefit of dynamic subscription tools is that a publisher can analyse customer behaviour and garner a deeper understanding of what content is working and what’s not. 

For example, a publisher may find that content around holiday deals or affordable fashion has become more popular. They can then make sure their content teams are prioritising these articles and open them up to contextual advertisers. 

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Maxing data: User experience will greatly enhanced by smart use of data analytics, says Evolok CEO.

Going even further, a publisher can personalise the content experience for each subscriber; if someone is particularly interested in sports, their article recommendations can reflect this, or they can be sent personalised notifications when new relevant content is posted. 

All of this will help to keep readers engaged and enhance their brand loyalty for your publication.

Making payments seamless and simple

This may seem like an obvious one, but you’d be surprised by just how many subscribers are lost when a publisher’s payments process is overly complex and time-consuming. 

It’s vital that this be made as seamless as possible. Auto renewals are a tried and tested way to simplify things for the reader. Where that’s not possible, a publisher needs to remove any unnecessary barriers. 

For example, passwords are often forgotten, and a simpler alternative is to ask your subscriber to enter a one-time password via text to access their account information and renew. 

For new customers, it’s equally important to make the sign up and payment process seamless. We’ve found that offering too many subscription products can be overwhelming and cause potential customers to give up. 

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Simply pay: Seamless payments in digital media need to be natural and easy for users.

So, keep it simple and limit the number of products you offer new subscribers to two or three.

And finally…

Times are certainly tough, but there are more opportunities than ever for publishers to broaden their revenue horizons by enhancing the user experience with dynamic subscription tools and embracing emerging products in the NFT and events space. 

Publishers have a unique advantage in that they are trusted sources of high quality, trustworthy content, in a way that social media platforms can only dream of. 

If they can leverage the power of their content and of their audiences, there’s no reason why they can’t ride the waves ahead and come out even stronger.