Issue #56 — Turning user-level data in to a churn reduction strategy

This week's issue is full of churn-reduction ideas and unusual distribution channels to get more people reading your content.

Happy Sunday from the Publisher Weekly team! Here’s your latest curation of the most important news and stories in digital publishing! 👉

💯 Top picks

Habit formation: How The Wall Street Journal turned user-level data into a churn reduction strategy

“The Journal went on a quest to identify the user actions — an app download, an article share, repeat reading of a particular reporter’s stories — that can turn a new subscriber into a loyal one. Then it turned that knowledge into churn-reducing action.”

💸 Business models

Google changes that will soon impact publishers and weaken paywalls

Twipe take a look at upcoming Google updates that will impact publishers, including the indexing of podcasts and photo stories which will be displayed in the search results pages. Plus, there are going to be some changes to incognito mode which will prevent publishers from being able to stop readers bypassing their paywalls.

Why this one publisher uses WhatsApp to distribute their newsletter content!

Many publishers are taking advantage of successful email campaigns, but one local news publisher in Germany, inFranken.de, decided to take a different approach and send theirs via WhatsApp, with other publishers in Germany following suit. Sounds like a great idea, but a recent announcement from WhatsApp might put a stop to this, as they intend to stop supporting automated and bulk messaging in the app.

SmartNews has shown it can drive traffic. Can it drive subscriptions too?

News discovery app SmartNews boasts 40 million downloads worldwide, and has become the new biggest source of referral traffic for publishers, overtaking social media networks like Twitter and LinkedIn. But can it help publishers attract subscribers?

✍️ Modern journalism

R.I.P. Quartz Brief, the innovative mobile news app. Maybe “chatting with the news” isn’t something most people really want to do?

Quartz Brief is a mobile news app built around chat, with bots that feed content to users that is computer generated, but kinda written by humans. Basically, it’s the app that can text you the news. However, after three years, it has been reported that it will close down on July 1st – because maybe chatting with the news is just not what people are into!

The audience in the mind’s eye: How journalists imagine their readers

This piece from Columbia Journalism Review explores whether technology has influenced modern journalism – has it changed the way in which journalists form audience perceptions and their understanding of the audiences they serve? Read the full report here, it’s a long one!

A tech guide to being a freelance journalist!

Media and politics reporter Scott Nover shares his thoughts and tips for flying solo as a freelance journalist.

Can tools for user reviews help the news regain audience trust? [Podcast]

Although publishers have become more data-savvy with reviewing their website traffic and engagement metrics, it has been suggested that it is rarely scrutinised why readers lose trust or stop engaging with news content. New startup Credder thinks it has the answer, with a review platform that allows journalists and the public to review articles.

The Associated Press and Google are building a tool for sharing more local news — more quickly

“We’re living in an age of journalism where people want to help each other and are prioritizing collaboration over competition. We want to seize on that in a way that ensures no matter who is in the newsroom there’s still a mechanism for them to use this.”

5 insights that will strengthen engaged journalism

The Engaged Journalism Accelerator programme gathered 140 practitioners in Berlin for a community-driven journalism event. Here’s the top takeaways, including how to plan, how to retain reader trust and how to listen to your community.

👩‍💻 Technology

Email autocomplete is sucking the life out of communication

Have you noticed Gmail began finishing your sentences for you lately?When drafting emails in the Gmail editor, it now uses a tool called “Smart Compose” to decide how you should form the rest of your sentence. It even offers suggestions for quick replies using Smart Reply. Journalist Emily Reynolds doesn’t think it’s very smart at all and makes some great points in this article!

Recode’s Peter Kafka: 'Netflix is winning' [Podcast]

“There are many video streaming services hoping to be the next big player in the future of TV. Peter Kafka, a reporter at Recode Media and host of the Recode Media podcast by Vox, thinks Netflix has remained ahead of the curve and will retain the top spot for as long as streaming services keep positioning themselves as the answer to Netflix.”

🤷 WTF?

Monitor websites for changes & get email alerts

Check out this useful chrome extension for journalists and researchers, which tracks changes to web pages, pushing email alerts or even Slack & Discord messages when changes are published!

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