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Personalisation a Major Focus for Publishers in 2023 PLUS Two KPIs to Track to Optimise Engagement Leading to Conversion

A woman looks at a mobile phone while at a laptop computer. by from Unsplash
While many publishers might be concerned about sending too many push notifications, research shows that there is more risk in not sending any. photo by from

In the Pugpig weekly media bulletin, Pugpig’s consulting services director Kevin Anderson distills some of the best strategies and tactics that are driving growth in audiences, revenue and innovation at media businesses around the world.

Publishers See Personalisation as Central Feature in New Products

It is just one week until we publish our State of the Digital Publishing Market report. We found that the innovation that Pugpig publishers are most interested in and are actively planning for in 2023 is personalisation. In practice, personalisation means different things to the publishing leaders we spoke with, and INMA found that the concept will be central to many products in the coming year.

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During their recent Product and Data for Media Summit, they showed how diverse personalisation products are.

  • News Corp Australia is working on a personalised news experience.
  • Schibsted has created a system called Curate that uses data for automation and personalisation.
  • Bayerischer Rundfunk is experimenting with algorithms and automation to personalise investigative journalism.

Christoph Schmitz, product manager of Curate at Schibsted in Norway, told the group that there are a number of challenges when it comes to the personalisation of news. Julian Delany of News Corp Australia is dealing with one of the most common issues with personalisation: How do companies convince users to provide information to media companies to deliver a personalised experience? “People do this on Facebook. Why is it not happening on our site?” he asked.

Sdhmitz is facing another challenge: how automation and personalisation challenges the identity of the newsroom. It is not just about getting buy-in for personalisation from your audience but also from your staff.

Bayerischer Rundfunk wanted to see how personalisation could increase the relevance of its highest impact investigations. They are trying to meet two goals that often compete with one another, increasing the relevance of content to audiences to engage them more while achieving this with fewer resources.

We will have more examples of personalisation that Pugpig publishers are pursuing or have pursued when the State of the Digital Publishing Market, which will come out on Thursday 1 December.

Two Metrics to Help You Track Engagement that Leads to Subscription Conversion

Data has played such a key role in the transformation of so many media businesses that it is a lot easier if not assumed that data will play a key role in decision making. Once the cultural case for data has been made, then media leaders face new challenges, and one of these is what metrics are most directly correlated to key drivers of success. It is one of the reasons that data scientists are in such demand at media businesses. They can build the data models and choose the KPIs so that leaders know which levers they need to pull to be successful.

However, as the industry becomes smarter in its use of data, we also have market intelligence on the KPIs that drive success. Madeline White at The Audiencers highlights a couple of these KPIs that you should consider when tracking the success of your subscription strategy: premium content and paywall visibility. Put simply, these two metrics allow you to track the percentage of users who see premium content and also those who see your paywall call to subscribe. As Madeline points out, these two metrics allow you to measure engagement before conversion so you track progress through your subscriber acquisition funnel.

Pugpig has a number of custom dimensions on our Bolt mobile platform that will allow you to easily track paywall visibility on your app. We can help you track these dimensions so that you can understand engagement that supports your subscription strategy.

Push Notifications: Higher Risk in Not Sending Them Than in Sending Too Many

Our goal at Pugpig Consulting Services is to provide your digital business with the best strategic support. As part of that, we are developing a series of strategic guides for achieving your digital publishing and business goals. Our first guide covers how to use push notifications to engage and retain subscribers. It’s a topic that we’ve received a lot of questions about, and more than simply a FAQ, we have used our extensive experience as well as knowledge of industry data, our data and best practices to provide you with a concise guide to support your decision-making on how to best use push notifications.

The key takeaways are:

That is just some of the market intelligence we have in our push notification guide. This is the first of what we hope is many of these strategic guides. If you have something you think we should write a guide about or if you would like to dive deeper into your push notification strategy, get in touch with Pugpig Consulting Services at

Industry News

Here are some of the most important headlines about the business of news and publishing as well as strategies and tactics in product management, analytics and audience engagement.