How Advance Local is using data and segmentation to improve subscriber acquisition

How publishers around the world are using WhatsApp Channels

Conversion techniques are constantly being refined and getting more sophisticated, and data is at its core. In this example, newspaper publisher Advance Local is using data to understand the propensity to subscribe, or readiness as they define it. It makes a lot of logical sense that a loosely engaged user isn’t the likeliest to buy a subscription. Advance Local is using this data to refine its conversion strategy and its trial offerings. Most publishers are using a registration step, but Advance Local is instead using trial subs for the first step on its subscription journey. The case study also brings us back to one of the common themes of this newsletter, engagement. For those with infrequent engagement, they have been testing a day pass offering.

Nieman Lab offers up a good overview of how news outlets from around the world are using WhatsApp Channels feature - the US, UK, Argentina and India. They are seeing fast growth, solid engagement and even referrals back to their websites.

Coverage has focused on how traffic from social media, especially Facebook, to news sites has collapsed. Charlie Warzel has a different explanation.

Consuming news might always have exacted an emotional toll, but by 2020, the experience of picking through the wreckage of social media to find out about the world was particularly awful. It’s telling that during the darkest days of the coronavirus pandemic, the very act of reading the news was rebranded as “doomscrolling,” and people have long called Twitter a “hellsite.”

Charlie Warzel, The Atlantic

He sees news fatigue as something that was created not just by events but also the toxicity of news consumption through social media.

The Press Gazette in the UK reviews traffic trends amongst local newspaper sites in the country. What is interesting is how Reach’s largest sites grew but many of their other sites saw traffic declines.

Press Foward is the foundation funded project that hopes to stem the collapse of local journalism in the United States, and they are not wasting time. This is an example of the type of projects that they are funding, local journalism projects in Chicago.

Hunterbrook, a hedge fund, is going to pay for journalism that helps it identify investing opportunities. Well, at least it is more productive than some of the investments that other funds are making in buying up journalism outlets.

Publishers are challenging the idea that scrapping content without permission for the purpose of LLM training is fair use, and the News/Media Alliance has called for an end to unauthorised use of publishers’ content. While I see a lot of potential for AI, I think there has to be a clear value exchange for content creators.