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Top 5 Takeaways from Our Webinar on Reader Loyalty

By OpenWeb Staff

Over the past few months, many publishers have seen an increase in visitors to their sites as people look to stay informed, connected, or even distracted during these unprecedented times. Even as the initial bump starts to fade, it is important for publishers to turn these new visitors into longtime readers who will continue to come back for more content. This is something that is not just important now, but it also applies to publishers year-around. Breaking news and major events bring traffic bumps, but the key to sustainability is building a connection with these new readers.

Last week, our SVP of Product Ido Goldberg joined our GM and SVP of Partner Success Enrico Tollis to break down why building a relationship with your audience is important and the best ways to make that connection.

Here are our top 5 takeaways from the webinar:

The Key to Surviving the Ups and Downs is Building a Deeper Relationship with Your Readers

Traffic comes and traffic goes – publishers have limited control of when their traffic will spike. During any major breaking news be it a championship game, an election year, or award show publishers can expect to see an influx of people coming to their site to stay up to date on the news, but often they are unable to get those visitors to become long-time readers. 

This is exactly why publishers need to create deeper loyalty with their audience. Across our network, we’ve seen it’s the ones that you convert to be more active that bring the most value to your business. Our data shows users who comment drive 3 times more page views and spend 15 times more time-on-site per session. They also have much higher retention rates. Over the past 6 months, commenters were 3.5 times more likely to visit the same site again versus non-engaged users.

Talk to Your Audience Not at Them

We’ve found the best way to get your audience to engage more on your site is through conversations. That’s not just publishing a story and moving on, but actually opening up a line of communication with your audience. We’ve seen consistently, when writers and editors get involved it sparks user activity and inspires them to join the conversation. 

Create Evergreen Environments That Encourage Healthy Discussions 

There are many ways to open up that line of communication. Asking your audience a question, or directing the conversation around a specific topic – not just an article – creates a unique and relatable experience that your audience continues to revisit as the conversation develops. Our partner MSN recently asked its readers, “Should face coverings be compulsory in public places?” Over 1,400 people joined in to say how they felt. 

Provide Your Readers with Information from the Source 

Right now, everyone is searching for validated information about the coronavirus. Recently, we have seen our partners hosting AMAs with experts to provide this critical information to their audience. Fox News’ editors selected questions from more than 1,000 readers for a Q&A with a doctor about COVID-19. Not only were they able to get more readers involved in the conversation their readers were able to get real-time answers to their questions and see that their questions were truly valued.

Create Unique Value for your Paying Readers 

As people grow more hungry for information several publishers have seen a significant increase in subscriptions. The New York Times said it added over 550,000 new subscribers last quarter and many other publishers have reported the same. As subscriptions continue to be an important source of revenue for publishers, connecting with your readers is incredibly important to driving subscriptions. Every user interaction is a gateway to registration. We’ve also seen partners use those interactions to provide unique value for their subscribers. Our partner, The Denver Post gates their commenting section to subscribers only, thereby incentivizing subscriptions while also providing an exclusive experience for subscribers.

To learn more, watch the on-demand webinar recording.


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