How Business Insider Nails Two Crucial Media Opportunities
October 28, 2015
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“Business Insider sits at the sweet spot of digital content: high traffic, low cost, with a combination of sassy voices and viral content,” said The New York Times.
Sounds dreamy, right? Yet it should be no surprise that getting to that sweet spot isn’t just luck – the secret sauce is how Business Insider has met the challenges of the digital world.
For media companies, in particular, those challenges cut close to the bone, as digital media has upended every business model traditional publishers ever relied on. Even new media companies struggle to prevail in this climate of rapid growth and change.
But we see enormous opportunities ahead, many of which have to do with the convergence of content marketing and publishing. Business Insider is one of the trailblazing media companies that offer great examples of how to seize media opportunities in knowledge and revenue, to name just two.
Data & Knowing What You Need to Know
At Sailthru we live and breathe data, but we understand that it can be daunting for our clients to face the demands of acquiring, storing, analyzing and – most important – deriving actionable insights about your audience from all that information.
The Director of Business and Audience Development at Business Insider, Breton Fischetti says the publisher’s motto is “What you need to know – about everything.” The motto also applies to how the company does business. It’s important for Business Insider to know everything it can about its readers by collecting rich data that combines explicit behavioral and implied interest data into a single customer view for every individual in their audience.
Powered by the data, Business Insider is able to curate content to best serve the interests of each individual user. This kind of personalization also helps squeeze every drop of value from the publishers’ vast trove of content. By using personalized data, says Fischetti, email could be customized to “highlight our full library of content,” for instance, by surfacing obscure, underused content to reach the users who are uniquely interested in it in their email marketing efforts. That data also powers an onsite recommendation engine that reaches across various sections of the news site to deliver the most relevant information to each reader (which works overtime as an acquisition tool after a certain number of clicks!).
Recommendations have “gotten so accurate at this point,” says Fischetti, “that my mom, who is a subscriber, actually thinks that I select the stories for her personally.”
Business Insider is not only utilizing every drop of content through data, but they are also using this technology to be more efficient. The Sailthru API plugs directly into Business Insider’s CMS, allowing editors to instantly publish content for email, while also giving editors the insights they need to continuously plan and evolve content and communications strategies.
Diversification of Revenue Streams
Smart publishers take a good look at how each of their channels functions best to generate revenue and then jump on the right opportunities to diversify revenue streams – with branded content, native advertising, and retail partnerships.
Business Insider deftly folds sponsored content into its site but is always careful to clearly label it as such so readers know it’s advertising. The practice shows respect for readers’ intelligence and enhances the brand by preserving Business Insider’s credibility as a news organization.
That credibility is crucial to a newer venture, BI Intelligence, a business research and information service available only by subscription. The meat-and-potatoes business data and analysis is complemented by hard news from a team of in –house reporters. Founder Henry Blodget told Adweek that the new unit makes Business Insider “a dual-revenue business,” by meeting the demand for “targeted reporting and analysis in different industries.”
Business Insider has also diversified into live events, a move that could be considered analogous to an online retailer’s decision to open a physical location. Business Insider Ignition, their prestigious annual conference, features some of Silicon Valley’s most successful and innovative minds, and helps position Business Insider at the forefront of cutting-edge trends in digital media.
The Bottom Line
While flourishing as a publishing brand today does look quite different than it did 20 years ago, there is just as much potential for players old and new to be successful. It takes serious digital acumen and prowess, but brands like Business Insider are a perfect case-in-point for how to do it right.
—Kristine Lowery, Content Marketing Manager at Sailthru
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