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

Optimising High-Value Subscription Renewals: How market analyst publishers can use technology to retain subscribers

Your job as a publisher is to ensure your subscriber gets excellent value from your content. Prove this and your customer will be eager to renew.

Email me the handbook

This guide is for market analysis publishers and high-value business information providers. Our best practice guide looks at how publishers can:

  • Use usage stats play a vital role in renewals,
  • Demonstrate content value to clients,
  • Build and maintain close user relationships,
  • Offer a point of marketplace differentiation.

The 1,800-word guide includes real-life examples of how research publishers have applied technology to make content more accessible and improve renewal rates.


  • It’s no longer about individual sales, it’s about relationships…
  • Make annual renewal meetings procedural
  • Run multiple brands from a single platform
  • Build closer customer relationships
  • Be the point of differentiation in competitive markets

If you sell information to a business audience, then this free best practice overview is for you.

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.


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  • Subscription Renewals

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Boost your renewals: Three new functions to help account managers retain customers

Here at Publish Interactive, our aim is to help research publishers improve the way they do business. Extensive customer feedback told us that publishers need new ways to help account managers to increase customer retention. You asked, and we have delivered…

Our latest feature rollout contains three new pieces of functionality to help account managers reengage customers, assist them during subscription renewals, and measure the impact of their work through charting customers’ renewals year on year.

1. Understand your customer retention rate

Account Renewals

The graph displayed in the new Account Renewals page breaks down how many customers held a license in each year. It details new clients and the number of clients that renewed from the previous year.

This visualization provides a critical performance insight. It will help publishers decide where to focus their revenue improvement efforts – either in gaining new customers or on retention.

2. Identify your at-risk/disengaged customers

Activity Score

To ensure a happy customer, an account manager needs to understand the way in which they use and interact with research content. To help them achieve this, Publish Interactive’s new Activity Score function records all user actions across an account in any given period and turns this into an overall engagement score.

At a glance, account managers can see what actions are contributing to the score and quickly understand how an account has been used.

The overall score then allows account managers to quickly compare periods to see how activity has changed over time.

3. Demonstrate your value at renewal time

Improved Logs

To accurately assess the behaviour of customers, account managers need simple and clear information about their activity. That’s why Publish Interactive has overhauled its activity logging approach. Not only have four new types of activity log been added, each log definition has been recreated to make them easier to understand.

The combined use of the Activity Score and the new logs will help account managers gain a greater understanding of customers and their relationship with content.

The new functionality added to Publish Interactive will also enable account managers to prove the impact content is having on customers and, as a result, act as a vital tool in encouraging subscription renewals

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

How a SaaS publishing platform helps research and analysis firms retain clients and increase revenue

The basic way business information firms win trust and turn prospects into customers is through the provision of high-quality research and analysis – but beyond this win, what steps can they take to ensure customers retain their enthusiasm and belief in the service they are being provided?

To put it simply, how does a research and analysis business keep surprising and delighting its customers beyond simply supplying good quality information?

Here at Publish Interactive we work in collaborative partnerships with our research and analysis clients on this very issue. The solution, we’ve found, isn’t complicated – it’s simply a matter of pairing our unique, highly-customizable technology with consultancy tailored to the specific needs of our individual customers.

Improved technology = happier customers

If we look solely at how retention rates can be improved and revenue encouraged upward from your existing customer base, then a technological solution starts to look all the more inviting. Getting more from your existing customers could be as simple as enhancing the way you supply them with information.

Instead of supplying your customers with a PDF report that is time-consuming to read and difficult to extract information from, why not integrate that content into their workflow?

A smart publishing system can turn a whole report into a series of chapters and content snippets that researchers can search through easily. Finding data or analysis only then takes as long as entering a term and clicking the button for the results. Once the researcher has all the necessary information at hand, a smart publishing technology should allow them to compile this content, then author and export their own bespoke reports – all without having to go through lots of tiresome copying and pasting into traditional authoring tools.

Once technology is engrained into a researcher’s workflow in this way, it encourages greater use and further engagement with a publisher’s content. Then, if your technology is good, customers can add comments and share those with colleagues as well as creating quick, custom reports on-the-fly that help fuel day-to-day discussion.

Happier customers = sales potential

When greater engagement (as demonstrated above) is coupled with good search, it can make a publisher’s whole portfolio more visible and useful to customers. Imagine also a search engine that allows you to highlight key, related, or recently published content – that’s a great cross- and up-sell opportunity right there.

Instead of focusing solely on single sales, features like this can encourage multiple report purchases and even makes it easier to introduce a subscription-based model for those researchers that find your platform integral to their day-to-day tasks.

Gaining end user info

The more you’re able to understand about your end users’ interests, the greater your ability to guide them to relevant content – which raises the question: what kind of actionable information can they provide you?

  • Account health – have they logged in recently? Have they left? Who are your ‘at risk’ users?
  • Engagement – what’s their access pattern over time? How much time do they spend on the platform?
    What kind of bounce rate do you get from users? Or from different content sets or formats?
  • What kind of content are they searching for, accessing and downloading?
  • What haven’t they already viewed that could be relevant?
  • How many users have you converted from single sales into subscribers?

Additional publisher benefits

A good publishing system makes life easier for your customers by embedding the content and various access tools they’ll need into the heart of their working day – but benefits of a system like this aren’t exclusively the preserve of your customers.

A high-quality publishing platform should allow easy editing of published content, freeing the author’s time so they can focus on improving quality and generating additional material.

In addition, usage stats should provide valuable information that can be used in customer analysis to further improve content production and marketing promotions.

What about buying-in a solution or in-house development?

It’s likely any business information provider who developed their own publishing system or bought-in software could find improvements to their customer retention and satisfaction rates, but we think they might quickly run into a whole new set of problems.

Here at Content Catalyst we have been developing the Publish Interactive platform for more than 12 years. In fact, that’s all we do! Our every effort is spent constantly refining and improving the way the publishing platform works for our customers, and their users too. But this only really works because of our close collaborative approach. By working directly with our clients we can customize our technology to their specific requirements.

This process of continual refinement comes as part of the package to help keep our customers supplied with the most up-to-date technology possible; but if you were to buy software, or develop it, your firm would continually be managing upgrade projects to stay relevant. That’s expensive, and so is employing a tech team to run it all.

A serviced software solution lets you know your long-term costs, helps you stay at the cutting-edge of technology, and ensures you can win new business.

Becoming a subscriber-first market analysis provider

Understand how niche research firms can use technology to successfully shift from a transactional model to recurring revenues