Video content: 5 actionable use cases for modern market analysis providers

With more people than ever consuming video online, B2B market research publishers can no longer afford to ignore this valuable content and subscriber engagement tool.

Online video consumption has doubled

It’s estimated that consumption of online video has almost doubled since 2018. The pandemic fuelled rapid growth in all digital trends, with 96 per cent of consumers saying it increased the amount of video they consumed online.

People watch an average of 19 hours of online video per week and are twice as likely to share video content. 96 per cent of people have watched an explainer video to learn more about a product or service.

There’s no doubt that video is a medium that publishers of market research and analysis can no longer ignore. Video is an interactive and immersive way of sharing information, and researchers believe it also improves our ability to retain and recall information.

Vimeo Report
An embedded video exhibit in the Publish Interactive platform

Here are five ways market research publishers can use video to deliver content and engage subscribers:

1. Report Summaries

A report summary is your chance to sell the unique benefits of a new report or series of reports. It’s also an opportunity to reinforce the relationship between subscribers and analysts.

Video increases subscribers’ engagement with content and showcases your team’s personality and expertise. Research shows that a massive 88 per cent of people have been convinced to buy a product or service by watching a brand’s video, highlighting the opportunity market analysis publishers have to follow suit and see significant commercial rewards.

2. Live and Pre-Recorded Webinars

Support the launch of your new report or explore a hot topic via live or pre-recorded webinars. Make time after your webinar for a Q&A session, as this is the most attractive part of a live webinar, according to 92 per cent of webinar attendees.

Use Q&As to address questions and inform participants of related products and services. Then, follow up with a recording of your session to attendees and offer the chance to book time with an analyst.

The ideal length for a webinar is between 30 and 45 minutes. Embed live and pre-recorded webinars directly into reports or on a separate webinar marketing page.

3. Break up Text-Heavy Reports

Breaking up your reports with short videos could increase engagement with your content. Use video to support essential points, explain data exhibits, or provide supporting analysis.

In 2022, 82 per cent of marketers said video helped them to increase dwell time – a metric that indicates how long someone spends on a webpage before heading back to search results. Combined with time on page, it can demonstrate how engaged a visitor is with your content.

4. Bitesize Emailable Updates

Short-form content up to two minutes long can help to engage subscribers between report releases. Provide topic updates, analysis, opinion, or new data points that direct subscribers to your website or encourages them to book time with an analyst.

Short-form video is well-suited for distribution via social media or email. Sales teams that use videos in their emails get a 16% higher open rate and a 26% increase in replies.

5. Personalised Videos

Personalised videos are 35% more likely to retain viewers than non-personalised videos. By tailoring videos to the interests of subscribers based on usage data, you could increase readership and subscriber retention.

Publishing technology such as Publish Interactive provides usage stats based on individual subscribers and accounts. Analyse the most popular topics, keywords, and reports for personalised video inspiration.

Unlock the full value of content with video

Video provides a more interactive and immersive learning experience and can therefore increase subscriber engagement. Video also showcases the expertise of your analysts and can deepen their relationship with subscribers, which smooths the path to renewals.

Publish Interactive customers can directly embed summary videos, webinars, and analyst commentary into research reports using the recently released Vimeo integration.

Use video to unlock the full value of your market analysis content today.

Promote content like an E-commerce expert: how to boost revenues as a B2B publisher

Online retailers promote products in prime locations on their websites to encourage customers to make other purchases. Publishers using a content management platform can also use this tactic to increase revenue from single copy report and subscription sales.

The role of content promotion in revenue growth

Online retailers like Amazon use strategically placed product promotions on their websites to nudge customers into making additional purchases. Using tools such as promotional banners and sidebar widgets, they promote items on sale, popular products, and goods related to a customer’s initial search.

Market research publishers can implement this tactic using a content management platform such as Publish Interactive. Whether your licensing model is broad all-access subscriptions, personalised content packages, or single copy purchases, promoting your content encourages subscribers to explore more of your portfolio.

Promoting your content has the following benefits:

  • Grows readership and engagement, which is particularly important for renewals
  • Prompts subscribers to buy more one-off reports
  • Encourages upgrades to existing subscription plans

Promoting content also exposes the depth and quality of your portfolio and helps deepen trust with your organisation and its analysts. As a trusted source of quality information, subscribers will be more likely to make additional requests for analyst support, generating additional consulting revenue.

Ways B2B publishers can promote content in Publish Interactive like a leading online retailer

Customisable widgets and tabs

Customisable homepage banners, sidebar widgets and HTML tabs are prime website real estate for content promotions. Advertise your latest reports, trial offers, or programme your banners to display locked content to certain subscriber groups or target accounts.

Publish Interactive homepage layout showing customisable promotional areas with header banner (solid line) and custom HTML tabs (dashed line) outlined

Other users also viewed

The platform will automatically generate links based on other users’ behaviour to other relevant reports or keywords, providing social proof to users that a report may be worth reading based on their activity.

Related Research

When a user searches your portfolio and clicks on a report, the system will recommend other reports that relate to that item based on your category tree as well as any tags or keywords associated with the report.

A report landing page displaying a widget suggesting related research reports

Other content promotion methods

Email Notifications

Alert subscribers when new products are released with email notifications. Integrations with mailing tools like MailChimp are an effective way of keeping readers aware of new releases.

Instant Access Technology

Send direct access links to subscribers via email using Publish Interactive’s Instant Access technology. With this link, they can view content without logging into the platform. Leading pharmaceutical advisory firm TGaS Insights use this feature to transform engagement across their library of life science reports. 

Customer Success Calls

Notify account management teams of key content they should promote/upsell in sales and customer care calls. Position these suggestions as ways of increasing the value subscribers receive from your service rather than a hard sell.

What content should I promote?

The content you promote should support your business goals, such as improving customer service, selling more reports, or upgrading customer subscriptions. There are different types of content you could promote to help reach these goals:

  • New research or series of reports
  • Updated evergreen research
  • Locked items outside of a subscriber’s license
  • Content related to a user’s search history
  • Special offers including timed access to reports and trials

P is for promotion

Promotion is a crucial step in the publishing process and needs to be more than an afterthought. Publishers who think like online retailers and adopt a strategic approach to promoting content can increase revenue from reports, license upgrades, and queries to analysts.

How analyst firms can use subscriber feedback and behavioural data to optimise information discovery journeys

Understanding how to include end-user feedback and behavioural data in the development of information discovery tools is vital for publishers looking to increase engagement and provide true value to subscribers.

Market analysis providers are waking up to the integral role customers play across content strategy and delivery formulation – particularly in relation to tools that aid efficient information discovery.

Discovery tools, such as taxonomy and category trees, workflow tools, and search, are designed to reduce time to discovery – a metric denoting the time it takes for readers to locate, gather, and re-use specific information.

So, where can market analysis providers find customer insight to improve these tools and reduce time to discovery?

  • The qualitative route: driven by Customer Success (CS) activity. CS teams should regularly check in with customers, inform them of new developments (and future releases planned on your product roadmap), and demo new developments to gauge feedback.
  • The quantitative route: data is gathered using analytics tools which track user behaviour. Taking the time to unpack and analyse data reveals true subscriber behaviour and uncovers areas of your information discovery system requiring improvement.

A blend of ‘human’ customer success-generated insights and data-driven analysis of subscriber behaviour provides a clear picture of the steps needed to create an efficient information discovery system within your content delivery platform.

Read on as we examine:

  • How to incorporate these two information sources into the development and configuration of your delivery system’s discovery tools
  • What metrics to keep an eye on to minimise time-to-discovery
  • The internal structures needed to ensure customer feedback plays a central role in discovery feature development.
Understanding subscriber usage is key to developing efficient information discovery tools

Taxonomy

Your category tree is the backbone of your content portfolio. Without it, your library would be an unnavigable jumble of reports and datasets, leaving subscribers with little option but to manually scroll through content and hope they come across the right title.

Taxonomies bring structure to content and improve the end-user experience, so their formation requires a significant level of feedback.

Andrew Woods, our in-house content expert at Content Catalyst, suggests that subscribers need practical use of your taxonomy to gather feedback. When they’re using your site, you can see how they discover content and what’s hindering their information discovery journeys.

“If searches are culminating in subscribers not finding content that’s useful to them, this indicates that your category tree needs tweaking. You may also need to educate end-users to ensure they know how to navigate your category tree correctly”, said Andrew.

Andrew is the creator of the ‘5 steps to taxonomy mastery’ (see right-hand box) – a collaborative framework he recommends to all new customers of Publish Interactive when mapping out their category tree:

5 steps to taxonomy mastery:

  1. First draft: create a first draft based on what you know about your subscribers, their expectations of your organisation, and how they interact with your content.
  2. Sense check: share with stakeholders and invite some of your customers to review it.
  3. Gather feedback: revise your categories based on feedback from internal stakeholders, including analysts.
  4. Soft launch: put your category tree live for a test period to gather feedback. Following this, you should analyse data embedded in your content delivery platform and conduct user research.
  5. Launch: amend taxonomy and go live. Book a second review point between 6 and 12 months after launch.

Key user metrics & behaviour to monitor:

  • Number of enquiries sent to Customer Success (CS) team from lost/dissatisfied customers (Help Desk/customer service line)
  • The average time it takes a user to locate a report (Usage analytics)
  • Number of user sessions that ended with no report access (Usage analytics)

Workflow

In contrast to the era of flat PDF delivery, market analysis providers can no longer serve up useful content and immediately produce satisfied subscribers. Content must also fit into a well-planned, thoroughly tested workflow process to provide true value.

When crafting a customer-centric workflow process, catch-up calls with your CS team are a crucial starting point. Use these calls to understand how subscribers access and repurpose content and where perceived inefficiencies lie.

If, for example, customers are struggling to create custom cuts of your reports to re-use in their PowerPoint presentations, this information should be fed back to your product development team, ready for implementation in later development cycles. If multiple accounts raise similar complaints, elevate the development’s urgency.

Careful analysis of usage data will also provide evidence of inefficiencies. Metrics like report reading time reveal whether your workflow tools allow readers to efficiently find information.

Your subscribers are busy, time-poor businesspeople. Internally, set a benchmark for the optimum time spent on a report. Then, with feedback from customers, identify the features causing delays and aim to fix these in later development cycles.

As an example of a fluid, end-user-oriented workflow process, the framework below shows how Publish Interactive users find and repurpose information.

Implement a fluid workflow model – underpinned by intuitive workflow and information discovery tools – and your subscribers will achieve their tasks in record time.

Key user metrics & behaviour to monitor:

  • Average time spent reading reports – adjust depending on report length. This could be as simple an equation as 5 minutes of reading time per 1000 words. (Usage analytics)
  • Average session length – once you implement the new workflow process, is there a marked reduction in time spent in-platform? (Usage analytics)
  • Customer satisfaction compared to the previous workflow system. (Customer survey / feedback in CS catch up calls)

Search

Underpinning any successful workflow process is powerful search. Search functionality is so highly valued that clients have cancelled entire global subscriptions if employees cannot quickly and intuitively find the information they need, meaning subscriber feedback on search quality and the structuring of returns is integral.

Search configuration and UX can lead you down a rabbit hole as the value of filters, weighting, and exact terms/phrases are highly subjective.

Before launching new search UX/functionality, task key subscriber accounts with sense checking the results a few example queries return. This could, for example, be the account’s most regular search. Identify the differences between the new returns and the old. Is the new structuring of returns more useful?

If your previous search functionality only searched by report title, rather than a granular sweeping of every word of your content portfolio, have confidence that the increased specificity will benefit your subscribers. If you’re fine-tuning or testing a new search configuration, be more cautious and receptive to feedback.

Once live, usage data is key for determining the effectiveness of your search functionality.

Key search metrics & behaviour to monitor:

  • Number of searches culminating in no result returns (Usage analytics)
  • Number of reports clicked through to upon running a search (Usage analytics)
  • Average user session length (Usage analytics)
  • Number of enquiries sent to the CS team from lost customers (Help Desk/customer service line)
  • Feedback from customer demos / example search tasks set to clients (CS team)

Analyse and Listen

Like in any healthy relationship, communication is key. Listen carefully to your customers’ opinions and feedback. Combine this with careful analysis of user behaviour and your information discovery tools will soon significantly reduce that all important metric: time to discovery.

Reduce time to discovery of business-critical information and you will soon see a return in improved engagement, renewals, and revenue.

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5 ways market analysis publishers can use subscriber usage data to guide content commissioning

Publishers of market research with a content strategy aligned to subscriber wants and needs will enjoy higher engagement levels and renewal rates. Here are 5 ways publishers can use subscriber insights to inform future content commissions.

The road ahead is ever-changing

The world today for consumers of information services is more changeable and complex than ever. Organisations must decipher complexity fast and are seeking context more than content.

To service this need, publishers must change their focus from delivering one-off static reports to providing continuous value through content.

Steve Budd, Co-Founder of Substribe, a leading B2B subscription consultancy, explained the factors driving this trend: “We speak to hundreds of b2b consumers of information services and it’s clear that their world is now more changeable and complex than ever… It is critical to understand what information and data customers need, how it’s changing, and what they do with it next.”

To provide this dynamic content service to customers, market analysis providers must understand the topics, trends, and content formats that deliver value to their subscribers.

Specialist content delivery platforms like Publish Interactive track subscriber activity and present the data in intuitive dashboards. Data points include downloads, shares, popular searches, and individual account usage. These metrics provide clear insight into the direction your content strategy should head.

An analytics dashboard tracking report access over time in the Publish Interactive platform.

Here are 5 ways you can use usage data to guide your content commissioning:

1. Discover what’s popular or in demand

Use report reads, downloads, and shares to determine the most popular reports. Based on this information, you may then decide to expand your library on this subject or improve or update existing content. Use clicks on reports outside of a user’s license to inform future content commissions or cross-selling.

2. Look for emerging trends

Look for changes in usage data over time. Increasing searches, reads, downloads, or shares on a particular subject area may indicate an emerging trend enabling you to expand your portfolio accordingly.

3. Fill your content gaps

In addition to popular content and emerging trends, it’s good practice to look for gaps in your portfolio. When you observe many related ‘No result’ searches, this indicates a content gap.

4. Understand valuable or desirable formats

Usage data may point to formats that are growing in popularity. For instance, we’ve recently noticed increased demand for interactive PowerPoint presentations and dynamic data visualisation. If you spot similar trends in your content library, focus future content strategy on these valued formats.

5. Find out what your subscribers do next with your content

Using analytics, you can embed your information services into end-user workflows. Look for clues in the data such as use of clippings, download frequency, and number of shares to understand the content most valuable to the completion of subscribers’ daily tasks.

Verify your hunches with customer interviews

Usage analytics are a good starting point, but won’t reveal the complete picture. Verify your hunches with subscriber interviews. When speaking with customers, you may discover surprising or unexpected insights that lead to future content commissions or even changes to your overall service.

Knowing what your subscribers are doing with content and how it feeds into their work tasks is imperative and should be at the heart of all editorial departments. With this understanding, you can ensure the content aligns with user interests and needs, increasing engagement and renewal rates.

5 ways publishers can harness subscription technology to grow

The right technology is vital for market research publishers to grow their business via subscriptions and build a quality service for subscribers.

Digital technology continues to drive subscriptions growth

During the pandemic, streaming services and news subscriptions boomed, and publishers with already successful digital subscription services thrived.

Online video streaming services, for example, reached 1.1 billion for the first time, and companies like Netflix experienced historical growth. According to Zuora, a subscription management company, subscription revenue for publishers grew by 16% in 2020.

Subscriptions may have been around for years, but it’s digital technologies and subsequent changes in consumer behaviour that drives continued growth. As a result, how publishers of market analysis deliver research is also changing.

The pandemic made it even more apparent that publishers can no longer depend on advertising or selling one-off reports or data for growth. Being subscriber-first brings benefits, including less reliance on more fickle revenue sources.

But moving from a transactional to a recurring revenue model, or improving on an existing service, requires the right publishing technology. It should enable publishers to develop a relationship over time that moves subscribers from one-off trial transactions onto a subscription.

From transactional to personalised: The four types of commercial relationships for high-value market analysis products

Here are five ways Publish Interactive can help niche publishers to develop subscription services and enable subscribers to maximise usage:

  1. Shift focus from acquisition to retention

Subscriptions enable a research publisher to forecast the minimum monthly income accurately. This brings assurance and a shift in focus.

With predictable monthly revenues, the sales team need not be preoccupied with making sales to meet core revenue targets. Their time can be better spent developing customer relationships and finding opportunities to up-sell and cross-sell, based on usage data built into the Publish Interactive platform.

  1. Tools help users gain maximum value from their subscription

For an individual subscription to be worthwhile, the user must feel that it benefits them. It must help them do their job better and save them time.

Workflow tools such as search, snippets, and clippings help users achieve this with simplicity and ease. These tools also allow the publisher to understand subscribers better and develop content and services that meet their needs.

  1. Deliver more personalised content

Technology gives publishers the flexibility to serve various customer groups, each with different requirements. It enables them to offer users several ways of accessing content, encouraging them to deepen their relationship with the publisher.

It enables publishers to manage subscriptions but also allows them to give content away for free, perhaps on a trial basis, and allows transactional sales too.

4. Build subscriber trust and deepen relationships

Once a relationship is established, it becomes easier to find out what else they and their employer may need. Often, an individual will act as an advocate to help publishers win greater trust within their organisation, which supports the growth of a subscriber base within that business.

This is when the quality of a subscription software can really make a difference. It can help develop a lasting partnership with customers by allowing them to access new services quickly and easily.

5. Gain a new understanding of subscribers

The most valuable aspect of adopting a subscription model is how it enables publishers to reach a powerful new understanding of subscriber behaviour.

Analytics underpins every aspect of an intelligent publishing platform. It enables a subscription model to exist, but more importantly it adds value to that subscription, or alerts the sales team to declining renewals.

“Subscriptions may have been around for years, but it’s digital technologies and subsequent changes in consumer behaviour that drive continued growth.”

Edwin Bailey

Director of Marketing, Publish Interactive

There is huge opportunity to drive subscription revenue

The pandemic has favoured digital publishers with high quality and trustworthy content. Importantly, delivered with the high level of service that consumers have come to expect from all digital services, including research firms.

With the right technology partner, publishers can confidently take advantage of the continued growth in subscriptions and build a subscriber-first business.

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Mastering a subscriber-first approach to content categorisation

Supermarkets are masters of categorisation because they think like their customers. Putting yourself into the shoes of your subscribers is the key to creating a robust and relevant taxonomy.

Supermarkets understand how to group items so customers can easily find what they need (and don’t need). Whilst perusing grocery shelves you might notice that most products have logical positions. Eggs in the baking aisle, fruit and veg grouped together, bin bags placed alongside cleaning products… the list goes on.

However, you don’t expect to find seasoning packets in the meat aisle, for instance. They’re not in the same category. But the clever people running the store know that a customer buying chicken may also buy Fajita seasoning on impulse.

Supermarkets have a deep understanding of their customers and there are complex psychological considerations behind the placement of every product. They study consumers continually so they can respond to even the slightest change in behaviour. Supermarkets even monitor the weather.

Who are your subscribers?

The weather may not affect how your subscribers search for content, but the time of year could. There may be other factors that influence how they search for content, such as their job roles and external market conditions. Just like supermarkets, publishers of market analysis should be acutely aware of these behavioural and contextual factors and categorise their content accordingly.

Andrew Woods, Content Analyst at Publish Interactive, explains that different subscribers have different levels of engagement.

“At one end of the spectrum are subscribers who are time precious. They just want to find what they need quickly and will become impatient with a complex category tree,” he explains.

“At the other end are those subscribers who spend a lot of time on your site looking for information. They may find a complex category tree more valuable.” Consider how engaged your customers are and how they prefer to discover information.

Which sector your organisation operates in can also influence how complex your category tree needs to be. “Subscribers of a well-established, broad pharmaceutical publisher would expect the category tree to be organised in a certain way. These organisations are almost forced to have a more complex category tree,” says Andrew.

“In contrast, niche publishers tend to have smaller category trees. When deciding on categories, consider whether you are baked into an industry and need to follow convention so as not to confuse subscribers. Or are you a niche publisher that can have a smaller and simpler category tree?”

Internal and external analysts are also a good source of information about your content and subscribers. They can provide insight into the current and future publishing strategy, and how subscribers search and use your content.

Taxonomy Definitions

Categories

  • Categories are used to collect similar reports into logical groups that resonate with subscribers’ interests and reading habits
  • They help users filter report lists and understand what topics are covered in the report library
  • Categories define a report either in terms of its content or the type of report
  • Categories determine the structure of the content portfolio.

Tags

  • Tags are labels used to describe the specific details contained within a report.
  • They help users find individual reports rather than groups of reports
  • Tags help users with keyword search and identify notable mentions.

Tag Sets

  • Tag sets allow you organise tags into distinct themes and contextualise individual tags.

“The full value of your content can only be realised when subscribers can easily find relevant information via categories or site search. Make it easy for subscribers, and they’ll be better engaged and more likely to become advocates and long-term loyal customers.”

Andrew Woods

Content Analyst, Publish Interactive

Test & Learn

We recommend that publishers don’t get too bogged down in the detail of their category tree during the design stage. Because ultimately, you won’t know if it’s effective until it’s been tested with subscribers. Like the supermarkets, you can continually tweak and change your categories once live, using subscriber feedback.

“You need subscribers to be using your taxonomy to gather feedback. When they’re using your site, you can see how they discover content and what’s affecting them getting to content,” adds Andrew.  “If searches are culminating in subscribers not finding content that’s useful to them, this is an indication that your category tree needs tweaking. It may also be necessary to carry out end-user education to ensure they know how to use search parameters correctly.”

“The full value of your content can only be realised when subscribers can easily find relevant information via categories or site search. Make it easy for subscribers, and they’ll be better engaged and more likely to become advocates and long-term loyal customers.”

5 steps to category mastery

A top-level category is the general master group into which all other categories fall. Sub-categories flow out of top-level groups, delivering an increasingly specific set of subjects to form a category tree.

No two category trees are the same so there are no rules to follow. But to give your category tree strong roots, Andrew recommends taking a subscriber-first approach and following these five steps:

  1. First draft: create a first draft based on what you know about your subscribers, their expectations of your organisation, and how they interact with your content.
  2. Sense check: share with stakeholders, and invite some of your customers to review it.
  3. Gather feedback: revise your categories based on feedback from internal stakeholders, including analysts.
  4. Soft launch: put your category tree live for a test period to gather feedback. This should include analysing data embedded in your content delivery platform, and conducting user research.
  5. Launch: amend taxonomy and go live. Book a second review point between 6 and 12 months after launch.

Content Search: The customer success superpower

Intuitive front-end search and usage data are powerful tools in the sales armoury for market intelligence publishers. These capabilities enable account managers to adopt a customer success rather than a sales-led approach to growing accounts and renewing subscriptions.

Every touchpoint with subscribers is a chance to nurture relationships. Yet, many account managers miss these opportunities because they don’t have the tools that deliver the insights identifying the value for subscribers.

Content search and usage data enable you to better understand the value each subscriber attributes to your products. Importantly, you can use this information to help subscribers unlock more value, resulting in deeper and longer-lasting relationships.

Answer subscriber queries without contacting an analyst

A content query is one scenario where you could use front-end search to grow an account.

Subscribers frequently ask account managers to help them find specific reports or information. But they’re not analysts, so they must refer these queries to someone who is. This incurs a business cost, and subscribers may need to wait hours or days, particularly if an analyst is in a different time zone.

With access to high-powered content search embedded in the Publish Interactive platform, you can answer more of these queries yourself. You can also use the opportunity to show subscribers related content that may be of interest but not apparent by the report titles.

“With Publish Interactive, you can search the knowledge base quickly and easily to demonstrate the broad range of topics, which might not have been apparent from the report titles. This gives clients a direct insight into what they can buy.”

Edwin Bailey

Director of Marketing & Product Strategy, Publish Interactive

Use data to initiate value-led conversations with subscribers

While front-end search enables you to help subscribers find the right product, usage data delivers insight into how they access and use the content.

For example, perhaps you notice that a subscriber only accesses your products, or conducts certain searches, at the end of the month. Maybe they are using it to inform end-of-month reports or beginning of the month plans?

Using this information, you can now open a conversation with them to discover more about how they use your products. You’ve also created the opportunity to up-sell or cross-sell services that they’d find useful during the other three weeks.

Identify up-sell and cross-sell opportunities

You’re more likely to uncover new opportunities to grow revenue when you have in-depth knowledge about subscribers. Science and Medicine Group (S&MG) agree that usage data generated by the Publish Interactive platform enables their account management team to transform customer engagements into further revenue.

“The strong usage reporting abilities of Publish Interactive are probably one of the most useful elements harnessed by the sales team to both cross and up-sell customers to additional products in our research portfolio.” Devin Holland, Former Director of Business Development, Science and Medicine Group

Using analytics, the S&MG team can monitor and identify the number of reports accessed to see which content areas are of most interest and who is requesting access.  They’ve found that the more insight they have, the easier conversations are with clients.

Turn renewals into routine admin tasks

Ultimately, front-end search and usage data give account managers the power to nurture long-term relationships based on customer success.

When subscribers have confidence that your service meets their needs and provides tangible business benefits, renewal becomes a routine admin task rather than an annual renewal call or account check-in.

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Securing high-value content: How to ensure the right content doesn’t fall into the wrong hands

As thieves try to steal expensive content and customers ignore the terms of their subscription licence by ‘sharing’ with colleagues, securing paid-for published reports and data must be a priority for market analysis firms.

As a publisher of market intelligence, imagine the following scenario. Coca-Cola*, one of your largest corporate accounts, purchases an enterprise license for your annual overview of the global soft drinks market. The report is delivered to them as a PDF, and you assume it is being used internally as per the stated licensing agreement. However, you soon learn that Pepsi* are using data in presentations and business reports that could only have come from one place: your annual overview of the global soft drinks market. But you know that Pepsi didn’t purchase a copy!

Often in this situation, content is not shared with malicious intent: many customers simply have a laissez-faire attitude to licensing and sending a report to a friend in a rival organisation is often done thoughtlessly due to the ease of sharing PDFs. In other instances, it is done deliberately to steal revenues and undercut the publisher’s hard work. Regardless of intent, both forms of distribution are financially damaging for publishers.

*(disclaimer: Coca-Cola and Pepsi have been referenced purely for illustrative purposes and this example does not reflect on the integrity of their employees!)

Production Costs

Business information’s value is unquantifiable, but the content’s price reflects the production costs for a niche market, the expertise of the author and the cost of research and data collection.

Syndicated market research reports are undoubtedly highly valuable products. Every report is produced by several teams, from the authoring analyst (or analysts) to editorial who ensure factual correctness and consistency, followed by production who work on design, layout, and quality control. Sales and marketing teams then join the fold to decide how to package and sell the content. This process involves many people, many hours of work, and significant expense to the publisher.

Securing this painstakingly produced, high-value content is at the forefront of any provider’s mind and is increasingly relevant as cyber-security concerns seep into our everyday working and personal lives. Content is extremely easy to steal or lose control of in a complex and ever-changing digital security landscape. Publishers should be aware of the common security hazards, and solutions, that regularly trouble providers of market intelligence.

Copyright Theft

At its crudest, copyright theft is stealing, re-packaging and selling, usually at cut-price, the same content publishers have spent weeks or months putting together. Copyright theft is a growing issue in the B2B publishing community, as with increasing regularity, organised networks work together to obtain high-value content, remove any references to the actual copyright owner from the report, dataset or video and market it often for a fraction of the price.

One industry figure posting in the Renewd online community, a network for subscriptions professionals and B2B publishers, identified over 80 pseudo-information firms working together to disseminate copyrighted material and shockingly found over 90 examples of their content listed on 11 individual sites. Networks of this nature will grow in number and become more sophisticated in their tactics, so publishers must be aware of this threat.

Solution: Vet all purchasers of your content – ensure that buyers input some personal information before making purchases. If, for example, an individual is trying to buy a $4,000 report and has no associated company of note this should raise alarm bells.

Mass Sharing

In a similar vein to copyright theft, mass sharing involves the downloading of licensed content and distributing without the permission of the publisher. Often unlicensed distribution of content is committed by one of your loyal (or so you thought) subscribers rather than an anonymous denizen of the internet.

There are 3 main forms of mass sharing:

  1. The internal sharer – occurs when a registered user downloads a whole report and uploads it to their corporate intranet or internal knowledge centre.
  2. The external distributor – this offence arises when a user shares content with friends outside of their organisation.
  3. The home drive saver – involves fewer people but still takes the content out of the publishers’ possession and could evolve into the other two distributors in the future.

Commenting on this type of threat, Edwin Bailey, Director of Marketing at Content Catalyst, who has over 20 years of experience in licensing content said; “Content delivered as PDFs via email is most at risk to this form of theft, and although publishers may have DRM systems in place these can be easily bypassed via password sharing or manipulation of the PDF document’s properties. Most subscribers are, of course, reliable and trustworthy. However, it only takes one user to bypass these rudimentary safeguards before your content is freely passed around another corporate account without your knowledge.”

Solution: Invest in a content delivery system capable of tracking content usage and managing access rights. Analytics and licensing allow greater control over usage and enables site administrators to keep tabs on potential rule-breakers. Having settings that prevent users from downloading whole reports offline can also be an effective preventative measure.

“Most subscribers are, of course, reliable and trustworthy. However, it only takes one user to bypass these rudimentary safeguards before your content is freely passed around another corporate account without your knowledge.”

Edwin Bailey

Director of Marketing, Content Catalyst

Corporate account sharing and fair use policy

Fair use policies have often been a sticking point between publishers and clients. Breaches of fair use frequently come in the form of password sharing amongst colleagues. Corporate licenses are granted with certain limits – a common restriction being the number of users associated with the account. Once the company reaches the pre-agreed number of users accessing the provider’s content, the client should move to the next pricing bracket and be charged a higher fee for access.

For example, a corporate team buying an account with 20 registered users when there are 100 members in their department should be flagged as a risk. If unregistered customer employees then ask the publisher’s analysts or salespeople content-related questions, this is an obvious sign of unauthorised access and may confirm the suspicion of password sharing.

Solution: Tracking IP access is a handy way of getting a sense of the number of devices accessing your site. Again, usage analytics, particularly those related to log-ins and geographical location are vital: if you can see that a certain account is logged in 24 hours a day with constant activity, it’s possible to deduce that the password is not just being shared amongst direct colleagues but across multiple time-zones – a major breach of fair usage policy.

Password breaches

In June of 2021, the largest ever password data breach was leaked – 8.4 billion passwords in total were compromised1. This problem is not sector-specific, but the sheer volume of passwords leaked every year makes this an issue publishers should be wary of.

Tom Gibbs, CIO at Content Catalyst who has been at the forefront of keeping Publish Interactive secure, explains that “the ubiquitous threat of data breaches means publishers should strive to implement security via a combination of best practices and a robust tech ecosystem.” Five security features he recommends that publishers should consider to ensure content security are (these are also all features of the Publish Interactive platform):

  1. 2-Factor authentication – reduces the chance of password sharing among colleagues and external attackers as only permitted IP addresses will receive entry codes.
  2. Password age – a setting that allows site administrators to enforce the frequency that users must reset their password.
  3. Trusted domains – restricts which email domains can access the site.
  4. ReCAPTCHA – this widget will ensure bots are unable to register to your site.
  5. SSO integration – with providers Okta and Microsoft Azure AD, facilitating better password practices and more secure log-in systems.

Solution: Invest in subscription software or a content delivery platform that has a range of features designed to counteract and reduce the threat of content breaches. It’s also important to sign-up to specialist password protectors, such as LastPass for your internal employees and if you are sharing passwords over email, ensure you use encrypted password services, such as PW Push.

A more secure future

Publishers must ensure the security of their content – the myriad of threats can be hard to keep up with, but with the right technology, secure best practice policies and the diligence of employees to monitor and track unusual activity, your painstakingly produced content can be kept safe and secure.

1https://www.itechpost.com/articles/105916/20210608/rockyou-2021-breach-exposes-8-4-billion-passwords-check-now.htm

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5 practical ways B2B research publishers can increase subscriber personalisation

Consumers are increasingly expecting personalised digital experiences – but how can B2B publishers embrace this new trend?

A study by Accenture found that a massive 91% of consumers are more likely to make purchases from brands (whether that is a new pair of shoes, a luxury holiday abroad, or even an annual B2B subscription package) that provide personalised digital experiences.1

Digital giants, such as Spotify and Amazon (think of all those personalised mixes and wishlists) have been the personalisation trailblazers, but other digital providers are catching up as demand grows and the digital landscape becomes increasingly saturated.

In the B2B publishing world, understanding subscriber usage, tracking content preferences and buying history, as well as on-site behaviour are vital metrics for the creation of unique, personalised digital experiences.

Although technical challenges are a common issue associated with personalisation, they can be overcome.

But this begs the question: which features and technologies can publishers practically implement on their digital platforms to make users feel like a unique individual rather than one part of a homogenous mass of subscribers?

1. Reading Lists

Just as Spotify attempts to condense your eclectic music taste into one easily digestible ‘Daily Mix’, publishers can similarly curate personalised reading lists for their subscribers.

Lists are collated based on the information provided when subscribers sign-up, including:

• Job title – a reading list could be titled ‘other CTOs are reading…’ for example.

• Company industry

• Geographical location

• Subjects of particular interest

The same Accenture study, Making it Personal, referenced above found that 83% of consumers are willing to share their data to enable a personalised experience, so do not be afraid to ask subscribers for information to enhance the personalisation experience.

Information gathering does not stop here, however. As new subscribers browse and consume content, their usage data and behaviour can be tracked and collated to compile a personalised list, displaying the licensed products of most relevance to them. Consider the similarities with Amazon and many other online shops which use customer buying and search history for on-site marketing ammunition.

If, for example, the user is accessing content continuously updated to reflect live market developments, similar reactive content not yet read could be suggested or added to their in-platform reading list.

2. Upsell & Cross-sell

This usage data can equally be leveraged for unlicensed content to create further personalisation points. Examples of in-platform behavioural usage data leveraged for cross-selling purposes include:

• Recently viewed products (both licensed and unlicensed)

• Most favoured content formats

• Behaviour of similar user personas

• Buying habits – does the user tend to buy products as part of a subscription or one-off purchases?

• Device data (more on this later)

Equipped with this data, marketing sites or content delivery systems can push similar products available to buy outside of existing subscriptions, often in the form of widgets on the site’s homepage or alongside licensed reports.

Example cross-sell widgets

Recent advances in machine learning and analytics technology have expanded the breadth of trackable data metrics and improved the interpretation of this data. This allows site administrators to automate the recommendation process, improve its accuracy, and reduce the cost of these ‘similar products’ recommendation systems.

Ultimately, if subscribers can see the extent of relevant content outside their subscription package, the publisher’s value is enforced, and further purchases will be encouraged.

3. Flexible Licensing

Underpinning this promotion of both unlicensed and licensed content is flexible licensing technology – a crucial asset publishers must utilise as part of the personalisation process.

Licensing facilitates the creation of trials to entice new users to sign-up, time-limited access to unlicensed content for existing customers, and the formation of user-specific content packages based on subscribers’ exact requirements. The flexibility now afforded by licensing technology is allowing publishers to create truly unique content packages.

Licensing enables the greatest degree and flexibility for personalisation – we covered this topic in detail in a recent article of ours:

“Underpinning this promotion of both unlicensed and licensed content is flexible licensing technology – a crucial asset publishers must utilise as part of the personalisation process.”

4. Device Optimisation

Moving beyond licensing’s role in the personalisation process, the device that end-users access content on reveals much about their behaviour and requirements.

Mobile access might, for example, tell you the user is regularly on the move rather than chained to their desk, so will need bitesize, concise content rather than dense, text-heavy market reports. Short-form content or regularly updated news content can then be pushed to these users rather than those who predominantly access via a desktop.

Equally, desktop users may value visually engaging content that can be displayed at its full potential on a large screen – PowerPoint-authored content could for instance be recommended to these users.

Optimising your mobile offering with either a dedicated application or a mobile version of your website with the same functionality as its browser-based counterpart is also key. Omnichannel consistency will strengthen your appeal amongst all user groups and again increase personalisation levels.

5. CTA’s and Landing Pages

User-specific landing pages are labour-intensive and require cross-departmental collaboration, but can increase conversion rates by up to 10%, according to research by the BCG.2

Creating unique pages for specific user groups with relevant calls to action, such as special offers, free trials or early access to a newly published report are powerful personalisation strategies. Using the data collated during the subscriber sign-up process and on-site behaviour, unique digital experiences can be created for segments of your subscriber base.

Looking Forward…

B2B publishers must embrace the personalisation revolution. Strengthened customer relationships, increased revenues, and improved renewal rates all await those B2B publishers willing to invest time and money into creating unique user experiences. With growing expectations amongst all consumer groups for personalised experiences, this is an exciting time for those B2B publishers able to embrace the personal rather than the general.

How publishers can create personalised user journeys using flexible licensing technology

Flexible licensing technology is now crucial for publishers looking to create highly targeted, tailored user journeys.

Managing customer access rights to high-value content used to be inflexible, insecure, and impersonal.

Broad ‘all or nothing’ packages were the sole purchasing option for prospective customers and publishers relied on the trustworthiness of their subscribers to abide by licence terms. However, technology now enables B2B publishers to offer secure, highly flexible licenses to help convert trialists to subscribers, drive upsell opportunities and create dynamic, tailored content bundles.

Fuelling this shift is the adoption of content delivery platforms and specialised licensing technology capable of delivering highly flexible, adaptable systems of access management. Advanced content licensing systems create seamless user journeys for customers – both prospective and existing – with clear upgrade paths to expanding the breadth of their licenses and subscriptions if implemented correctly.

Licenses can now be granted for content as granular as a single report section, function on a time-sensitive basis or control access to certain content formats, such as the often-sensitive underlying data behind charts and graphs.

The specificity available is transforming how publishers sell their content, revolutionising the way subscribers interact with market analysis and facilitating an automated, personalised user journey.

Trial access

The first stage of the user journey is invariably the trial stage – a stage often possible, but with fewer options available, on outdated content delivery methods but now commonplace and highly adaptable to individual user requirements.

Time-limited trials can be created for new prospects visiting and browsing a publisher’s website for the first time or for existing customers looking to expand their current content packages. Consequently, publishers deploy trials as a form of lead gen for new prospects and as one facet of the customer success process.

Granting existing subscribers free access to content outside of their subscriptions is a powerful way of strengthening client relationships and demonstrates the value of a publisher’s content as the breadth of relevant analysis available to users is displayed. Aside from benefits related to customer success, there are also clear commercial benefits. Encouraging fee increases as subscribers become dependent on temporary trial-access content naturally leads to additional subscription module purchases.

Track & trace

Considering the new user journey again, it is important to note how trial accounts can be marketed to as they navigate through the platform.

Once new users have created an account and log in as part of their trial, they will browse through a publisher’s digital content offering, discover content from across their portfolio and have access restricted to any reports or datasets outside of their limited trial license . As this restriction of access occurs, user behaviour is tracked to create personalised marketing and unique special offers for these trial accounts, encouraging a full subscription purchase.

The dual forces of licensing and analytics, working together to manage accessible content, track user behaviour, and feed this behavioural data into marketing, is a powerful strategy for progressing triallists to paying subscribers.

 

How licensing and analytics work together to support trial progression

User-specific content packages

Once the trial is over, the triallist has a decision to make: to purchase a subscription or to look elsewhere for business-critical analysis.

If the decision is to purchase, this is where advanced licensing technology really comes to the fore.

Content delivery platforms and specialist licensing systems can now segment content and create highly tailored subscription packages based on the new subscriber’s exact requirements.

With the ability to grant access to individual chapters in reports or whole libraries of content and manage the length of time users have access to products, the possibilities for both publishers and subscribers to create customised content programmes are endless.

Futuresource Consulting, a specialist research and knowledge-based consulting firm, faced the challenge of working with a ten-year-old system, which made it ‘difficult to change licenses’. However, after adopting Publish Interactive with its advanced access management features, this changed. James Edwards, Marketing Executive at Futuresource, summarised the improvements to their access management capabilities by explaining, ‘the flexibility it offers, in terms of the ability to create different unique access rights, is game-changing’.

Following the integration of CRM or eCommerce software, licenses can be granted without any salesperson or account manager involvement.  The journey from an initial website visit with limited access to freemium content to a fully-fledged subscriber can therefore be entirely automated if integrations are implemented correctly.

“The flexibility Publish Interactive offers, in terms of the ability to create different unique access rights, is game-changing”

James Edwards

Marketing Executive at Futuresource Consulting

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