Three Ways Publishers are Increasing User Engagement, Retention & Loyalty

Increase User Engagement

Some publishers love Facebook. But Facebook doesn’t always love them back.

According to a 2015 study, before Facebook launched its Instant Article feature in the late spring of 2015, publishers were flourishing as Facebook accounted for 43% of incoming website traffic to publisher’s domains, even more than Google.1

While Instant Articles provide benefits such as faster load time, increased CTR and shares, it also creates a significant barrier that limits the other content readers can view.2 Since Instant Articles allow users to read full-length articles without leaving the social platform, a user can no longer flow through multiple articles on the publisher’s domain, thus decreasing the amount of ad impressions and page views.

With the loss of a major traffic source, it is even more important for publishers to nail both their click-based acquisition strategy and also a retention plan designed to maintain their current traffic and boost their user engagement and loyalty.

Here are three proven strategies being used to great success by early adopters.

1. Reward Programs
Reward programs incentivize users to return to a site in order to gain or win a bonus, discount, or good. Aside from return visits, rewards also provide a personal experience, which turns users into loyal customers. According to Chris Doherty, Vice President of branding and consumer consulting firm Daymon Worldwide, “The ability to strengthen these customer relationships is what makes loyalty programs such an attractive retention tactic for businesses.”3

Beauty Company Sephora has had great success with its Beauty Insider reward program, acquiring over 10 million members.4 Sephora’s mobile app includes engaging content such as an online Beauty Insider page with personalized products and recommendations, free birthday gifts, a wider selection of products, and much more. Members, 20% of Sephora’s core customer base, are retained by the personalized experience and end up spending more than non-members.5

It’s not just brands that are using reward programs.

Both Conde Nast and New York magazine have partnered with Jun Group to create incentives for users to return to their respective sites and remain for set durations.6 And for good reason: a 5% increase in customer retention can increase profits by 25-125%.7

2. Push Notifications
65% of users return to an app within the first month if they enable push notifications, making this an extremely effective retention channel.8

The key? Personalization.

A report by Leanplum, “Personalize or Bust: The Impact of App Engagement” found an 800% increase in user engagement when push notifications are personalized.9 For publishers looking to take advantage of the 8 billion times per day Americans check their phones(!), push notifications can recommend personalized content, such as news and weather alerts, instantly grabbing the user’s attention and bringing them back to the publisher’s app or Web site.

Learn 4 other reasons why publishers need to use content personalization.

3. Social Sharing
The average American checks their social media accounts 17 times per day, giving publishers 17 opportunities to engage their users and entice them back to their sites.10

Sure, Twitter, Snapchat and yes, Facebook, give publishers vast megaphones that can take on a viral nature, thanks to retweets and other social sharing. But social networks are also great vehicles for fostering brand loyalty and user engagement.

By commenting and sharing content, users feel connected to the brand and become part of the brand’s natural community. According to The Community Roundtable’s 2015 State of Community Management report, organizations with community programs see, on average, 46% of their members remain regularly active.11 And since Americans who are part of a brand community are 12% more loyal to that brand than users who are not included in that community, there’s strong incentive to leverage all applicable social channels. 12

To succeed, and even thrive, in the age of Facebook Instant Articles, publishers need to own a sound retention strategy that builds user engagement and loyalty. Indeed, it’s high time for social media to love publishers back.


Content Personalization

1. Ingram, Mathew. “Facebook Has Taken over from Google as a Traffic Source for News.” Fortune, 17 Aug. 2015. Web. 20 May 2016.
2. Billingsley, Rebekah. “Op-ed: Facebook Instant Articles.” What’s New in Publishing. WNIP, 13 Apr. 2016. Web. 20 May 2016.
3. Fallon, Nicole. “Customer Loyalty Programs: A Must-Have Retention Strategy.” Business News Daily, 3 Apr. 2014.
4. Gorman, Trish. “Seeking Growth? Chiptole, Sophora, HP and Others Found 6 Low-Risk Paths.” Forbes, 15 May 2014.
5. Samuely, Alex. “How Sephora Pairs Individual, Loyalty Data to Optimize Segmentation.” Mobile Commerce Daily, 24 Feb. 2016.
6. Shields, Mike. “Publishers Offer Rewards to Readers Who Visit Their Sites for Timed Sessions.” WSJ. N.p., 22 Feb. 2016. Web. 27 May 2016.
7. “Customer Retention Should Outweigh Customer Acquisition.” Retsci. N.p., 1 May 2014. Web. 27 May 2016.
8. “2015: The Year that Push Notifications Grew Up.” Localytics, 10 Dec. 2015.
9. “Leanplum Report Finds 800 Percent Increase in Push Notification Engagement Due To Personalization.” PR Newswire, 17 May 2016.
10. Chang, Lulu. “Americans Spend an Alarming Amount of Time Checking Social Media on Their Phones.” Digital Trends. N.p., 13 June 2015. Web. 27 May 2016.
11. The State of Community Management 2014 – The Community Roundtable.” The Community Roundtable. N.p., 2014. Web. 20 May 2016.
12. Baer, Jay. “53% of Americans Who Follow Brands in Social Are More Loyal To Those Brands.” Convince and Convert, n.d. Web. 20 May 2016.