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These next-level user experiences lead to more loyal, registered users

September 20, 2021 | By Joel Bejar, SVP Business Development – OpenWeb @OpenWebHQ

When it comes to the future, increasing user registrations and building robust first-party datasets should be at the forefront of every publisher’s strategy. Building first-party data unlocks a publishers’ ability to increase user loyalty, activate their audience, monetize their content, and improve their editorial strategy.

However, according to a recent survey from Teads, 65.3% of publishers say they are not planning on increasing the usage of logins to gather first party data. Why is that? According to the report, they’re worried about a “potential disruption of user experience.”

It’s a valid concern: 67% of customers say poor user experiences are a reason for churn.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Many leading publishers are leveling-up user experiences on their website by creating social experiences and using personalization to create a seamless registration and log in process. These publishers stand to attract and grow an audience of loyal readers. Let’s take a look at how they’re doing it.

Three tactics to engage loyal audiences

1. Give users a reason to register with immersive social experiences 

Stand-out content will always drive readers to a publisher’s website. Increasingly, though, readers are looking for other ways to interact and engage once they’re done reading an article.

Today, the publishers who are creating social experiences on their website see more registrations and greater retention rates. At OpenWeb, we’ve found that publishers who create these experiences have users who spend 35% more time on-site. They are 450% more likely to return month-after-month, and drive 4x the revenue as the average user.

There are a number of ways that publishers can create social experiences. Many are adopting engagement tools like one-click polls where readers can weigh in on the article they just read. Others are producing interactive ask-me-anything style interactive forums (AMAs) with authors or journalists. Another effective social experience is hosting a comments section. When publishers invite readers to interact in quality conversations where they feel valued, they’re more likely to register and return again and again.

2. Use active personalization to provide value and keep users coming back

Users not only crave engaging social experience, they’re loyal to publishers who “get” them.

That’s why more publishers are creating personalized content experiences to drive registrations and loyalty. In fact, 88% of marketers believe that audiences now expect personalization. One of the most effective ways that publishers can provide value to their users is through active personalization, or personalization that allows users to self-select their favorite authors, topics, and more.

Readers who receive targeted content tend to stay on-site longer, return more often, and view more content. They also provide publishers with more information about their content preferences, allowing publishers to take advantage of rich first-party data insights. One of the great things about personalized experiences is that, with the right tools, just about any publisher can create them—even those without a comments section.

3. Optimize your first party data success strategy

First-party datasets will play a pivotal role in every publisher’s future. In fact, they’re absolutely critical for any sustainable strategy, particularly in light of cookie depreciation. Through exceptional user experiences, publishers will drive more registrations. This will, in turn, allow them to collect more robust and accurate first party data which ultimately enables them to provide additional value to their audiences. In other words, all roads lead to a loyal, active community.

Time to interact

So if you’re still contemplating how to navigate the cookieless future, start by evaluating your user experience and ask these questions:

  • What opportunities are there to create social experiences and build a thriving, active community?
  • How can we leverage personalization to provide targeted content experiences for readers?

With this approach, publishers stand to see more registered, active users and higher retention rates, like Salon has. Thanks to immersive social experiences on their website (including a comments section), they built a loyal community of active users—and boosted their retention rate 4X.

The bottom line? Give users exceptional experiences and see exceptional results.

About the author

Joel Bejar is the Vice President of Business Development at OpenWeb

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