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Retention, Rather Than Growth Is New Narrative for Online PublishersIt’s an “age of disruption,” in which online publishers are tasked with finding the best strategies and technologies to cost effectively drive audience retention and advertising revenues.

“The evolution of consumer behavior and preferences has resulted in publishers continued struggles to increase revenue,” says the team at Sailthru, a customer retention platform. “According to Pew Research Center’s State of the News Media 2015, 39 of the top 50 comScore digital news sites receive more traffic from mobile devices than desktops, yet mobile visitors spend less time per visit.”

The report suggests that while digital ad revenues across all media grew 18 percent in 2014, just five companies took in half of all that digital ad revenue, “leaving traditional outlets with little growth and a major gap in digital monetization.”

In fact, a forum this week — “Audience Development Strategies: Customer Retention in Age of Disruption” — was dedicated to providing insights detailing why online media and digital publishing enterprises must focus on retention to set the foundation for profitable growth.

The event included presentations and discussions with leading industry experts who have designed, implemented and delivered highly successful retention strategies.

“Publishers have made great headway by adapting to the needs and demands of their readers, who increasingly consume their news online and via mobile devices,” noted Neil Capel, the chairman of Sailthru, and one of the event participants.

“However, there are still significant opportunities modern media and publishers have to increase profitability, especially when it comes to using data to build loyalty with their readers,” added Capel. “Focusing on retention is much more cost-effective than driving fleeting acquisitions that fail to deliver significant long-term return on investment in terms of both advertising revenue and subscription conversion.”

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