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


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)


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)


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.


  • Analytics
  • End-user workflow
  • User Journey

Related Content

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.

Why publishers of market analysis should use analytics to prove value to their subscribers

How does a market analysis firm prove to its subscribers that it offers them great value for money and saves them time? The quality of its analysis might be high, but beyond gathering anecdotal feedback from users, how does it prove to subscribers that it’s meeting their needs?


A lot depends on the way the market analysis publisher interacts with its subscribers. If it supplies content as PDFs, spreadsheets, or other documents that can be emailed or downloaded, the firm will be able to establish subjects in which the customer is interested, but that’s about it.

What they don’t know is how useful the document was, how it was used, how many people read it, and scores of other ways the subscriber might have interacted with the content. Establishing this level of detail will take lots of time-consuming and costly follow-up calls or interviews. Even then, the firm can’t be certain that what they’re being told is 100% accurate.

This information void makes it hard for the publisher to prove that its content is useful, used widely and that an investment in it represents good value for money.

Rich information

Usage stats are key. If a market analysis publisher can provide reliable data, not only can it prove its value to the customer, it can legitimately enter negotiations expecting not just to renew, but to enhance the relationship through tailoring the packages it offers to meet the specific needs of each account.

Here are just a few examples of the insights usage stats provide, which can be invaluable during renewal discussions:

  • Which users accessed content
  • What content was accessed
  • How frequently the content was accessed
  • Most popular search terms
  • Most popular content
  • What content was shared among users
  • Whether any communication existed around particular content
  • Most favourable formats
  • Key categories and topics
  • The ways content was re-used once it had been accessed
  • The numbers of hours in-platform content and workflow tools typically saved users

Of course, a market analysis publisher won’t be able to gather data like this unless it uses a smart platform to manage its content delivery and user access. Such is the growing need to provide clients with detailed information on their usage, however, it won’t be long until all publishers are compelled to start using a platform that enables them to demonstrate their usefulness to subscribers.

In addition to simply being able to provide detailed usage feedback, publishers will start to rely on this information, so they can assess the use of their platform and constantly provide the best possible service to their customers.

These requirements mean that within around five years, either through attrition or innovation, the businesses that make up the market analysis sector will be dominated by those who can provide customers with both high-quality research and detailed information on how that research is used.


Kellie McMillan
Client Relationship Manager
Publish Interactive

“An account manager who can establish what content has been accessed by users – and their engagement levels – is well-placed to accurately convey to the customer the value of the service they enjoy.”

4 Key questions to answer for successful analytics

1. Can you understand who your active users are?
To fully understand your content usage, you should be able to see every single action a user has taken on the platform, including logins, searches, downloads, and even what part of the document has been re-used.

2. Can you review which content is popular?
Using the information gathered from your analytics, you should be able to understand which topics are most popular and be able to use this information to write content in the future based on demand.

3. Do you know if you are missing potential leads?
If you can see which users have tried to view a report they do not have a license to you can then reach out to offer new sales opportunities.

4. Do you understand true subscriber value?
Looking at the usage of many users within an account will prove the value of the content when it comes to retention of the account. If the content is simply downloaded then shared with other team members you miss that important usage information and don’t understand the true value of the account when it comes to the renewal conversation.

See how Publish Interactive’s Analytics features can transform your usage analytics reporting.


  • Analytics
  • Subscribers
  • Subscription Renewals

How publishers should use analytics to support subscriber renewal discussions

Stats on how research is used, customer behaviour and content popularity help justify renewal fees.

It is no longer enough for a sales team to go into subscriber renewal discussions simply hoping the client will sign for another year and accept a reasonable increase in fees.

The technology a publisher of high-value information uses to supply content and interact with subscribers should provide a wealth of information that enables them to demonstrate the value it provides to their customers.

Show the value of your content

Publishers need to be able to demonstrate the value they provide. This can mean more than simply ensuring a renewal, it can turn the conversation from ‘please buy us again’ to ‘this is the value, this is how to serve your customers better, this is what we need to do next year’.

Change the approach from a sales pitch to a conversation about a developing relationship. Outline a roadmap for future licencing agreements tailored to the specific needs of the client and move towards a lasting and valuable partnership for each party.

Renewals become an issue for publishers if the content is no longer deemed to provide a good return on the cost.

Use data as evidence

Edify Digital Media, a London-based publisher of leather market information, uses content usage data to understand what their customers like and develop upselling campaigns. Edify’s co-founder Maria Wallace elaborates; “As publishers, user analytics are valuable as they provide information showing what content is of most interest – so we can produce more – and warm sales leads for possible subscription upgrades or new business opportunities”.

Underplay the renewal and build in reliance

The ideal situation is for the renewal process to become a predictable administrative task. For example, within the SaaS sector where there is baked-in reliance on the service, renewals are often not a problem. Renewals become an issue for publishers if the content is no longer deemed to provide a good return on the cost.

“As publishers, user analytics are valuable as they provide information showing what content is of most interest – so we can produce more – and warm sales leads for possible subscription upgrades or new business opportunities”.

Maria Wallace

Co-Founder, Edify

If an account manager can make use of dashboards and alerts to quickly and easily stay up-to-speed on how content is being used, they don’t need to wait for the renewal.

If a new piece of content is published that has high relevance for a client, but lies outside their licence, a manager has a range of options to deepen the customer relationship. They might provide time-limited free access, offer a reduction, or even use this content as a way to cross-sell into a new area.

Whichever approach is taken, proactive help of this kind ensures the client maximises their subscription and is regularly reminded of the value the publisher provides.

See how the Publish Interactive platform can help your publishing company make renewal meetings procedural by viewing our analytics features, or book a product tour to be guided by an expert.

Read the customer story: How Edify Digital Media uses Publish Interactive’s analytics to refine its offering and drive sales leads

How an investor relations magazine boosted engagement and simplified renewals

With Publish Interactive, IR Magazine is now able to make its back catalogue available to subscribers, track content use and publish new benchmarking and insight content as interactive reports.

IR Media Group is a specialist information business serving investor relations professionals. It provides news, events and research for stock listed businesses globally through its IR Magazine brand.

Insight from IR Magazine is vital for its subscribers, yet prior to its adoption of Publish Interactive’s smart content management and publishing system, it had limited ways of actively engaging with users nor the ability to analyse how its research content was used.

New reports were created then distributed as PDFs, but this meant there were limited opportunities to analyse usage and customer engagement.

IR Magazine recognised the opportunity to add real value to its offering by helping clients make better use of its research and applying content tracking to understand usage and feed that back into creation, sales and marketing.

Understanding usage

With Publish Interactive, IR Magazine is now able to make its back catalogue available to subscribers, track content use and publish new benchmarking and insight content as interactive reports.

“We had been looking at ways to improve the service we offer subscribers. Our old system didn’t provide analytics, now we can see who is accessing our research reports,” says Stuart O’Hara, Head of Content Marketing, IR Magazine.

“We’ll publish around 15 new reports this year. With Publish Interactive, we can track, analyse usage, feedback to the editorial team and target products to the right people.

“If someone isn’t maximising their annual subscription, they’re not left in the cold for a year. We can help them use us more intuitively and, in doing so, make the renewal process easier.

“We can also upsell more easily now and the fact that we now have a great user experience provides the sales team with a USP to win new customers.”

Enhancing user experiences

Critical in IR Magazine’s bid to improve its offering was a need to boost engagement and enhance the user experience. Publish Interactive helped by providing intuitive workflow tools, high quality search and interactivity that allows users clip content, export to multiple formats and create bespoke reports.

“With Publish Interactive, we’re far more engaging. Content is in a single destination, search and navigation are simple and we have added features like ‘Ask the Editor’, where users can fire questions at us. That functionality wasn’t possible when our output was just in PDF, ” adds Stuart.


Deepening engagement

Since establishing its new content portal, IR Magazine has developed plans to extend use of the platform to attract new business.

“The response from customers has been positive. They find the Publish Interactive-powered elements of our website easy to use and engaging, the next step is to deepen engagement further,” says Stuart.

That process will involve the introduction of user guides and deepening internal understanding of analytics to ensure content is created that meets users’ needs and to more closely track subscriber behaviour and respond accordingly.

“We want to use this new portal to help us gain as many new customers as possible and encourage our existing subscribers to make full use of the content available for them to access,” Stuart adds.


  • Analytics
  • Content Management
  • Subscription Renewals

7 key trends for B2B research publishers in 2020

To mark the end of one decade and in anticipation of the next (is it really 20 years since the Millennium!) we have highlighted trends that are likely to shape high-value business-to-business research publishing over the next 12 months and beyond.

Our seven trends that forward-thinking research publishers should consider as we move into 2020 are…

#1 Continued emphasis on subscriptions

Publishers will continue to try and persuade low value customers to become subscribers that provide recurring revenues. There are multiple routes to this goal, including the development of membership programmes with dynamic pricing, or planning an upgrade path from first interaction to fully-fledged high-value customer.

Technology enables this process to run more smoothly by personalising the user journey and establishing a upsell mechanism that encourages single copy customers to develop a deeper relationship with the publisher.

#2 The customer at the heart of decisions

The next 12 months will see greater emphasis on customer centricity and developing this mindset across the organisation. This will mean publishers spending as much time as possible with their customers to really understand the value they provide.

Customer centricity isn’t just about cementing external relationships: product teams will be working alongside customer-facing teams to ensure products are on point. We anticipate that those in customer-facing roles, such as sales, should become more involved in product design and development.

#3 Embedding interactive data

We expect publishers to really start tackling the technical challenge of how to allow users secure and seamless access to different content types. Specifically, we are thinking about how interactive data can be made securely available alongside written analysis – or embedded within.

By making use of single sign-on systems and/or technical integrations, users can be provided with access to the specific content they need even more quickly and easily.

#4 Making use of accessible AI

In 2020 artificial intelligence and the computing power needed to run advanced algorithms will become more accessible than ever before.

Publishers will have the potential to develop search that understands what is contained in a piece of content and the nature of its relationship to other content types. Deepening the quality of search can help users cut through content noise to specific information that answers their questions.

#5 Shortening time-to-publish workflows

Customers of syndicated market research will increasingly demand more timely data and insight. This puts pressure on publishers to reduce the time spent developing, producing and publishing content. A digital-first workflow – enter-once-distribute-anywhere – will be the goal.

In 2020, publishers will start to look harder for efficiencies in the authoring and production process. This could take the form of automated content reviews, in-platform authoring or on-the-fly design.

#6 Differentiation through content design

We anticipate high-value publishers will place greater emphasis on content design as a branding mechanism. This should help create a sense of authority, value and quality that will set them apart from less compelling sources that are either free or low cost.

We expect content to be more specifically designed for screen consumption, rather than print. As such, data and storytelling content is likely to become more visual with fewer words.

#7 Analytics at the heart of everything

Readership and content usage stats will be increasingly used by publishers to manage their business. Customer usage data will underpin subscription renewal discussions as perceived use of content will be challenged by data on actual use.

Taking cues from the B2C world, editors will use data on topic or article popularity to help with content commissioning.

Related Content

7 tips: How behavioural data can help maintain a low churn rate

Having customers access your Market Intelligence content via a subscription is a great way for your firm to maintain a predictable income, but running this model means contract renewal time is an even more vital piece of the business jigsaw.

If you can’t make a good case for renewal, then a significant chunk of next year’s income can disappear in a flash.

The key to keeping churn rate low is to provide high-level service to customers, but getting them to actually sign for another year means providing solid evidence of an effective and useful service.

The representative tasked with negotiating a renewal on your customer’s behalf is unlikely to be a daily user of the service. If they don’t have first-hand knowledge of how great you are, you’ll need to convince them of it. Supplying rich information showing how much value their colleagues extract from the service account will go a long way to ensuring a renewal and/or an upgrade.

In this article, we’re going to look at seven ways that key bits of behavioural data can help you maintain and develop your subscriptions at renewal time.

1. Getting the content mix right

If your publishing technology is good, it should provide worthwhile data on the type of content customers are accessing. Getting right the package of topics available to account holders is the route to a happy customer.

So, what patterns can you discern from behavioural data extracted from your publishing technology? Can you use this information to tailor a better service to your customers?

Can you establish what topics and categories are accessed most? Are any subjects underused or ignored? If so, what about tweaking the subscription licence to include topics related to more popular subjects and ending access to those that are little-used or less well-reviewed?

Offering more relevant content will lead to greater engagement and enable your client to maximise the value of their subscription.

2. Number of visits/Time spent in platform

If you can use data to show how reliant account users are on your content and publishing system, this will go a long way toward proving your worth to the customer. Evidence of lots of visits, and long spells interacting with the publishing platform demonstrate how good the experience is for all those who use it.

If you can also demonstrate a growing frequency of visits and increasingly longer sessions over the course of the subscription, that’s powerful evidence to show that users found both the content and that the platform increasingly compelling and vital as they grew familiar with its use.

We’re not saying you should encourage users to stay on your site just for the sake of it, but as the more value they find the more productive they become through use, the more their session times and frequency of visits are likely to increase.

3. Type of activity

Of course, your customers aren’t likely just to be accessing information; they’ll be sharing it with colleagues, leaving comments, downloading key sections, exporting to PowerPoint, Word, and Excel, as well as cutting bespoke reports as they interlace your information with their own proprietary insights.

Quantifying this level of activity can provide compelling evidence that a) your content is worth re-using and b) that your publishing system can facilitate all these essential tasks and make your customers more efficient and productive as a result.

4. What type of content are they using?

In addition to understanding the type of activity in which the users are engaged, knowing what type of content they’re using can be equally useful.

If half are permanently downloading text-based analysis and the other half only care for data tables, the sales representative should be able to configure the new subscription package to empower these groups with access to appropriate topics and content types.

If you can also demonstrate a growing frequency of visits and increasingly longer sessions over the course of the subscription, that’s powerful evidence to show that users found both the content and that the platform increasingly compelling and vital as they grew familiar with its use.”

Edwin Bailey

Director of Marketing

5. Moving licences around

Presumably, the subscriptions you sell will cover a certain number of licences; but how do you know the customer is getting value from all of them? When it comes to renewal time, you should have sufficient behavioural information to tell your client about the individuals that are using the platform regularly (and those that aren’t), and/or the job titles that get the most value from their access.

You can help your customer be more efficient by empowering them to move allotted subscriptions to individuals who will be able to make the most of the access. In fact, if this happens ahead of renewal time you’ll be able to demonstrate how much more usage is being extracted as a result.

6. Dealing with non-engagement

It isn’t always about using data reactively to justify a renewal; customer usage data (or a lack of it) can be just as usefully applied to ensure each user benefits from their access to your information.

If, several months into a new contract, your data shows several users are engaging infrequently, or using little content, or even not logging in at all, you can be proactive.

These individuals can be contacted to find out what is limiting their involvement. Perhaps they need different content or some training to help them access information?

By monitoring users who are not responding to content – and then getting in touch to see what’s wrong – you could help improve the look of your stats and make life that little bit easier when the time comes to discuss the renewal of the service agreement.

7. Evidence of time saved

If the combination of content you provide means your customers don’t have to wade through reams of reports to get the information they need, that represents a time-saving. Equally, each time a user takes a piece of content and exports it – at the click of a button –  to Excel, PPT, or Word for use elsewhere instead of laboriously copying it all out manually, that’s another huge time-saving.

Multiply that time saving by the number of exports your users perform, and you have a really compelling and tangible number to show your customers to help them understand how much time they are saving by subscribing.

Recap: 7 behavioural data points to understand

  1. Getting the content mix right
  2. Number of visits/Time spent in platform
  3. Type of activity
  4. What type of content are subscribers using?
  5. Moving licences around
  6. Dealing with non-engagement
  7. Evidence of time saved

7 huge losses if you fail to track how your research content is used

If you are providing high-value research, you need know how your customer is using this to ensure you don’t leave money on the table.

If you’re creating expensive research then only making it available to customers via an emailed or downloadable document, there’s no real way to accurately know what happens next – in today’s customer-centric economy, this isn’t good.

Equally, if you provide a subscription that allows a customer access to your portfolio without you trying to understand how and why they use your content, you’re practically throwing away valuable information that could be critical to the future direction of your organisation.

So, what information could you be missing out on and why is that bad for business?

1. Who is viewing the content?

If an admin assistant bought a report then immediately passed it to the Insights Director, do you really want to try and engage the assistant in future? How do you think they’ll respond to marketing and sales? Perhaps not as well as the person who’s consuming your report. But how would you know that?

2. How many people view it?

Is it just the individual who bought it, their whole team, or also people working in another business? If you don’t know, then you have no idea about your potential market. How many separate accounts, license holders, or one-off purchases are you missing out on?

3. How many times is it viewed?

Imagine you sell the same person two pieces of content, but you don’t know that they looked at one piece just once and the other more than 100 times. Without this information, you’d assume they’re equally interested in both subjects. Think how different your sales and marketing approach could be if you knew, in detail, how many people looked at which report?

4. Which sections are interesting, which aren’t?

If you sell someone a report about meat sales and they only read sections related to pork products, how would you know they have no interest in beef, chicken, or lamb? You wouldn’t. As a result, your sale of future content to them will be less precise.

5. How do you make your content relevant?

Without usage data, it will be difficult to create personalised content bundles for customers as you won’t know what they’re interested in. Also, if you can’t gather usage data to find out how content is used by the entire userbase, it will be difficult to know what subjects the audience is interested in and then set an appropriate strategy for future research production.

6. How do you renew subscriptions?

Let’s see: you have no real information on how often your content was used, nor by how many people, and you don’t have figures for all the people in a single organisation that read your expensively-produced research – nor the breadth of topics these people were reading. Can you still make a convincing case for maintaining the same fees? Can you justify a suggestion to expand the account license to include new content, new topics, and new categories that might be of interest?

7. How do you sell additional content?

The answer is: you can still sell it, but you won’t have any information to back up your claims or to ensure it’s relevant to the person you’re selling it to. Now, just imagine approaching the same call knowing their three major topic interests, and armed with an offer for additional content in this area at a cutdown price. Those are two very different scenarios.


  • Analytics
  • Business
  • Content Licensing

3 key challenges account managers face when using analytics during subscription renewals

An account manager who can establish what content has been accessed by users – and their engagement levels – is well-placed to accurately convey to the customer the value of the service they enjoy.

For many publishers, however, establishing even basic usage data can be a challenge that ultimately does nothing to aid the renewal process or boost understanding of the users.

Yet if these challenges can be overcome – and a supply of good quality user data established – a publisher will have the tools needed to help boost engagement and improve customer retention.

In this short guide, we examine three key challenges facing account managers as they attempt to use analytics to establish critical insights and build customer loyalty.

Challenge 1: Faster, easier, and more usable data

A research organisation looking to extract insights from usage data can be negatively impacted if the process to extract them is manual or slow. For data to play a fundamental role in the development of a research business, access needs to be quick, easy, and automated.

Better flow

Improving the ‘flow’ of information can increase use, but this alone won’t herald a data rich age. Information also needs to be presented in a way that helps establish insights immediately.
That means providing the ability to view stats from an account and user perspective or to easily switch to review usage by topic and/or content category.

Visualizing data

Whatever data is sought, it’s a must to display this via a dashboard that summarises activity and enables more considered investigation. Account managers don’t want to rely on asking colleagues for stats, to wait for them to arrive, then be forced to format them in a spreadsheet before they make any sense. Account managers need immediate access and insights.

If detected early, the opportunity exists to turn a disenchanted user into a satisfied customer; but to do this account managers need to be empowered with tools that provide real insights.

Challenge 2: Refocus on engagement

Data provides insights that help forge closer ties with customers, but often they’re only used to review client performance or to demonstrate value ahead of a contract renewal.

Usage of this kind is, of course, vital; but if data is only used in this way then a fundamental part of its potential is wasted…

Re-engage to retain.

Regularly reviewing usage stats can help account managers identify, at an early stage, poorly performing accounts and disengaged customers the publisher is at risk of losing.

Sometimes the limited usage challenge is the result of poor data. If the only available stats come from the CRM system, they’re unlikely to have the necessary depth to help identify a disconnected customer.

If detected early, the opportunity exists to turn a disenchanted user into a satisfied customer; but to do this account managers need to be empowered with tools that provide real insights.


Challenge 3: Standardisation

What to measure and report

Usage stats can establish the strength of a publisher’s customer relationships and help identify opportunities for improvement, but none of this is possible without a structured approach to data gathering.

Statistical performance highlights aren’t enough: standardisation is critical. That means a common set of datapoints regularly gathered and reported to help an account manager understand, at any given time, what content is most compelling, what isn’t working, which users are most compelled, and those that are not.

Establishing and reporting even basic data points like this can help account managers to accurately establish customer insights that, in turn, can drive their business forward.


  • Analytics
  • Subscribers
  • Subscription Renewals

New: analytics features allow publishers to monitor subscriber interactions

You can now track and improve your retention rates, through the account renewals, chart, account activity scores and improved logs. These features are now available to all our customers as standard.

Understand your customers better

To help you get better insight into how your customers are using your content, the key usage stats that you can download from the system have been updated to use much clearer log names used in the activity score, so that you know exactly what your customers are doing on your site.

We are keen to continue improving this area. We’d love to hear your ideas about the functionality you need to keep renewals high.

The Future Market Analyst

Six ways publishing technology equips analyst teams for future success