Habitat Magazine

Creating New Digital Revenue Streams and Engagement for its Established User Base

Success Story
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Challenges

  • Maintain core subscription and advertising revenues.
  • Evolve content in step with the Habitat audience, which is increasingly digital-first.
  • Grow digital revenues.
  • Learn more about Habitat audience.

Project Summary

  • Habitat Archive content repository
  • Google Ad Manager integration
  • Multi-channel editorial offerings
  • HabitatU online learning experiences
  • Digital editions and new distribution channels

Business Benefits

  • Scalable content libraries for premium audiences
  • Web advertising has doubled
  • Launch of numerous, high-value multi-channel sub-brands
  • Revenue growth of 68 percent on multi-channel
  • Identify audience media preferences, particularly video

Why eZ Platform?

eZ Platform is a powerful, flexible DXP that has enabled Habitat and its development partner, Mugo Web, to experiment with new digital channels and products without incurring prohibitive costs.

Adopting a flexible, multichannel online strategy

Habitat Magazine needed to be creative in evolving its traditional print paid circulation model into a thriving multi-channel, online strategy.

Habitat's clearly defined focus on the concerns of co-op/condo board directors and property managers in the greater New York area has earned it a high-value audience of about 7,500 paid subscribers. However, its ability to scale is limited to a relatively small geographic area -- as big as it is, New York is just one market. And Habitat targets a very specialized audience.

So Habitat's growth initiatives are focused on creating new digital revenue streams and engagement for its established user base.

This has meant trial and error powered by a modern, flexible DXP. As habitat publisher Carol Ott puts it, "Like many other print publications, we fell into the web and started adding things."

Project Requirements

Since moving to an eZ Systems platform two decades ago, Habitat has launched a series of iterative projects to advance its digital transformation. Each of these projects has shared these key underlying business requirements:

  • Maintain core subscription and advertising revenues. Habitat continues to make a huge investment in content for its high-value audience, and it wants new features and channels to be additive to its subscribers' overall experience.
  • Evolve content in step with the Habitat audience, which is increasingly digital-first. As younger people join co-op and condo boards, Habitat's content must evolve to keep pace with its audience's changing preferences, and advertisers increasingly want to reach Habitat's subscribers in online, interactive channels.
  • Grow digital revenues. Each new digital experience needs to demonstrate clearly that it is going to generate revenue or increase reader engagement in a strategic way that will eventually lead to new revenue.

Agile Innovation

The agility of the eZ Platform DXP has enabled Habitat and its development partner, Mugo Web, to innovate without facing prohibitive development costs.

Habitat's willingness to try creative new strategies has led to many successes. And even when an experiment doesn't quite meet its three core business goals, Habitat can recalibrate its strategies with a better understanding of its audience.

The Solutions

Here's a look at four projects the team at Habitat and Mugo Web have conceptualized and implemented, and the impact each has on Habitat's core business.

Habitat Archive

Much of Habitat's reporting has "evergreen" value to its core audience, so an online content repository made sense. Habitat is using a gated content model that allows readers to see a few articles before requiring them to sign up for a subscription. Users can opt for a 24-hour pass or an annual subscription. Mugo undertook an SEO revamp to make the content easier to find, as a way to promote the feature.

Habitat has seen that most people opt for an annual subscription, which includes the archive as well as the digital magazine and e-newsletters. Overall, Habitat has come to believe that its web audience is more motivated by new media formats, especially video.

Habitat can now take advantage of this asset in entirely new ways -- for instance, as a specialized knowledge base for a co-op board of directors. Having all its content in a scalable DXP enables Habitat to quickly respond to any such opportunities in its market, where information is considered at a high premium.

Google Ad Manager

Mugo integrated a variety of digital ad slots that allow Habitat to package relevant display sponsorships for each section of the site. Habitat positions these sponsorship packages as branding experiences for its advertising clients, rather than commodity CPM buys. Web advertising has doubled since implementing Google Ad Manager.

Multi-channel Editorial

Habitat has developed several multi-channel, interactive user experiences that also provide unique sponsorship opportunities.

These include Ask the Experts, which are sponsored videos showcasing industry insiders, and Seeking Counsel, which offers legal insights. These digital elements build upon print elements.

Revenues from multi-channel editorial experiences have grown by 68% since 2016. The three-pronged strategy of print/video/display has proven so successful that Habitat has developed branded offerings on many topic areas.

HabitatU

Based on its digital success, Habitat wanted to explore a new type of sponsored content online. So it launched HabitatU, an eLearning experience based on the Thought Industries platform. To reduce friction and encourage user adoption, Mugo implemented single sign-on (SSO) for registered Habitat subscribers through eZ Platform.

In general, Habitat users have responded well to HabitatU content, so it has been regarded as a success. However, the revenue opportunities don't justify the effort and expense of creating such high-value content. The Habitat team is refocusing its efforts on channels with a better return on investment.

Lessons learned

So, what are the biggest lessons Habitat has learned during its ongoing evolution from a traditional print publisher to a multi-channel digital platform?

  • Investing in digital doesn't have to be all-or-nothing. It can piggyback on your print strategies.
  • Learning about your audience is a key win for any digital experience. Some of Habitat's experiments have not yielded immediate ROI, but have proven to be the basis of new, successful channel launches. It's important to measure user response and react accordingly.
  • Multi-channel programs have proven to be extremely successful, both in reader engagement and revenue generation.
  • It's key to allow users to engage with your content in the channel and format that works best for them. Revenue opportunities will follow.

Learn more with the on demand webinar, just click on the image to watch.

 

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