With disinformation running rampant, fake news lurking at every turn, and trust in the media at an all-time low, new research from multichannel messaging firm PowerInbox reveals that today’s publishers must focus on delivering relevant, personalized content to subscribers in order to differentiate themselves as trustworthy amid a sea of suspect content sources.
In fact, delivering personalized content is critical for bolstering trust in the publisher, driving higher audience engagement and ad revenue—which makes having the ability to send automated, personalized messages a key factor for business growth.
The data is part of the firm’s new report, 2021 Digital Publishing Industry Report: 4 Audience Trends Publishers Can’t Ignore. The year-over-year comparison looks at the role of personalization and trust in driving subscriptions and engagement over digital channels like email, push notifications and messaging platforms—and it confirms that consistently delivering relevant content is critical for revenue growth.
“After three years of gathering this audience data, it’s clear that publishers have an opportunity to engage audiences more, but it has to be done in a way that serves subscribers’ needs,” said PowerInbox CEO Jeff Kupietzky, in a news release. “That means precise personalization is absolutely critical, and publishers must implement automated tools to deliver exactly the content subscribers want at scale in order to maintain trust and engagement.”
The report compares three years’ worth of audience data and uncovers key trends publishers can leverage to drive higher engagement and revenue:
- Trust in the publisher has shot up 8 percent as the #1 reason people read and engage with email newsletters.
- Once that trust is established, audiences are more likely to also subscribe to publisher messages sent via other channels like push notifications.
- Twice as many consumers want to receive push notifications, now up to 53 percent compared to just 27 percent a year ago.
- Audiences increasingly expect to see ads across all channels, recognizing that quality content isn’t free and seeing ads is a price they’re willing to pay.
- Trust drives revenue, with more consumers than ever who say they’re willing to click on ads when they trust the publisher.
Kupietzy says that since social media is the least trusted source of information, publishers must focus on connecting with subscribers over channels they own and control—namely email and push notifications.
“With trust playing such a huge role in the audience relationship, publishers have to reduce their reliance on third-parties like social and search in order to build and maintain credibility with subscribers and avoid losing money to referral traffic sources,” he said. “This data proves that engaging subscribers with personalized content over owned, trusted channels like email and push is the key to revenue growth.”
The trend report is a preview of some of the data PowerInbox uncovered in its most recent survey aimed at surfacing insights publishers can use to increase audience engagement and revenue. Stay tuned to 2021 Digital Publishing Industry Report for more updates and new analysis to help publishers make smart decisions in 2021. The research was conducted by Mantis Research, polling 1,000 U.S. consumers in November 2020.