How Can Publishers Use Data Analytics to Increase Revenues

Matt Lindsay is an economics expert that has been releasing a series of blog pieces and books that talk about the shift in the publishing industry away from traditional distribution and into something that is more focused on the reader. In a guest blog posted on, Lindsay suggests that the advertising revenue pie is shrinking for regional and local publishers and it may be time for everyone in the publishing industry to accept the fact that the focus for content needs to be driven by the readers and not the advertisers.

The Competition Field Has Shifted

Prior to the Internet taking over a huge chunk of the publishing industry, local and regional newspapers controlled a big portion of the advertising revenue for their area. There were very few national newspapers, so that allowed the regional and local papers to be able to cash in on the advertising that was left behind by the national publications.

But the Internet has changed all of that and now regional publishers are forced to compete with national organizations for an audience that is growing. Local publishers still benefit from being able to deliver focused news to a local audience, but regional publishers now find their sports content competing with national organizations and that has caused many regional publishers to feel the financial pinch.

The Specialization Created By The Internet Is A Problem

It is simpler for a sports organization to reach a national audience over the Internet than it is through printed publications. When specialized publishers start to infringe on the territory of regional and local publishers, then that creates a problem for those publishers.

The Internet encourages specialization and seems to frown upon publishers that try to be all things to all people. Many publishers are used to offering a variety of sections in their printed offerings, but that approach is no longer valid in the Internet world. These days, publishers must focus on content that readers are looking for and find ways to develop value for each and every reader.

Analytics Are The Answer

According to, the Financial Times is using analytics to determine what kind of content their readers prefer, what medium readers are using the most, and what types of news trends readers are following. This, along with a wide variety of other analytical information, is helping the Financial Times to create content that is based on exactly what the readers want. Instead of putting up a product that customers may or may not be interested in, publishers need to utilize analytics to compete in an increasingly diverse online publishing industry.

Matt Lindsay insists that the days of advertisers dictating publishing content are over, and the statistics bear this out. The publications that utilize analytics to develop content and products that readers actually want are finding more success than publications that continue to deliver news the old way. Subscription revenue is making a comeback, which has shifted the ability to dictate content from the hands of the advertisers, to the whims of the masses.

With the advent of ad blockers, subscription revenue making a comeback is good news for publishers. Can this help make up for lost advertising revenue? Additionally, what kind of opportunity does recruitment advertising present to help your publication make up for lost revenue?

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