Last week, the Keywee team got to participate in Digiday Hot Topic: Subscriptions & Memberships. The event, a full day of peer-based discussions and learning, was appropriately enough hosted at the SUNY Global Center. It truly felt like being back in school; even those who were experienced realized there was so much more still to learn.

While we did get the chance to say hi to many Keywee customers and friends at the event, we realize that geography is limiting, so for those of you who couldn’t attend, here are the key trends we’re thinking about post-event:

Nurturing is key across the funnel

We heard the term “digital nurturing” throughout the day. While we’ve been thinking about this trend for some time, it was great to hear publishers really focused on the need to stay in front of a consumer with content across their lifecycle: not only to convert them to a member or subscriber, but also to retain them.

We heard some dizzying stats about user nurturing, courtesy of Piano, a content monetization platform. Perhaps most interesting: registered users are 10x more likely to convert to paying subscribers. (We heard a similar sentiment from Star Tribune in our recent webinar – they say that registered users are 30x more likely to convert). That means for publishers, the key to a strong subscriptions business can lie in increasing the speed and rate at which users register. Keywee often helps publishers achieve this by engaging readers with the right content at the right point of their lifecycle. At the event, we also heard about other interesting tactics like offering a free day pass for unlimited articles, and decreasing the number of free articles available.

On the other end of the funnel, we also heard about the importance of engagement for retention. We saw one graph that showed that churn rates were more than double among subscribers with only light engagement (1-5 active days) vs. those with high engagement (16-31 active days). This underscores the importance of continuing to engage with your readers even after they convert. As a marketer, you can use paid media to help your readers continue to build a habit that includes your content.

The homepage is dead, long live the Homepage!

After years of deprioritization of the home page, we heard publishers saying that it has recently been rising in importance. This makes sense as the industry moves away from the impressions-based business model that rewarded sending users directly from social media to article pages.

This is an especially important trend for publishers with subscription or membership programs; according to Piano, visits directly to the homepage have a higher subscription conversion rate than those from other sources.

Unsurprisingly, publishers have shifted their strategy accordingly. Mia Libby of the Daily Beast said their commitment to their homepage is paying off, as they continue to see an increase in traffic originating from it.

Segmentation is the name of the game

Throughout the day, we heard about a variety of segmentation efforts designed to build a stronger business.

We heard about multiple publishers offering specialized newsletters in order to group their audiences by type of content. In this way, each audience receives content customized to their interests.

And back on the topic of paid subscriptions, we heard from both The New York Times and Hearst about segmenting readers by churn risk. Esfand Pourmand from Hearst shared that his team can predict with 92% accuracy who is going to churn, using Google AI. Both publishers are actively using data from across the business to try to re-engage with readers.

Keywee works with some of the world’s top publishers, like tronc, The New Yorker, National Geographic, and Le Figaro to engage, acquire, and retain paid subscribers. If you’re interested in scaling your subscription business or just starting out, please reach out. We’d love to talk with you.

About Keywee

At Keywee, we make stories relevant and powerful for the world’s best storytellers — like The New York Times, The BBC, National Geographic, Forbes, and Red Bull.

Today, people aren’t coming to websites to search for content — stories find their audiences in feeds and apps. The upshot? Distribution is now the key for effective storytelling. Keywee’s platform unlocks audience insights using AI and data science, and infuses them into every step of the storytelling process: from topic selection, to story creation, to distribution and optimization. Keywee is backed by leading investors such as Google’s Eric Schmidt and The New York Times, and has been a fast-growing, profitable startup since its inception. To learn more, request a demo here.