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New Media and Events Revenue Opportunities

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2020AFOMediaMonetisation700-min
2020AFOMediaMonetisation700-min
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2020 has forced the pace of innovation with great results for many media brands

Some of the innovative ways media and events organisations are growing revenues in 2020

How best to monetise the Covid bump in digital traffic


Whilst 2020 has been an incredibly challenging year, it has also been one full of opportunities to innovate.

 

And we’ve all had to innovate like crazy to get ahead of the curve, and stay above the line.

 

We’re fortunate to work with such innovative clients who have a determination to overcome the current crisis and embrace the new opportunities offered as a result.

 

At the start of the crisis, if was all about scaling the Affino SaaS service as fast as possible as we saw a 300% spike in traffic in the early days of the pandemic. We rolled out dozens of optimisations to make Affino faster, more lightweight and less resource and data intensive. Otherwise things would have gotten much more expensive for us all.

 

Within a month though we started to get in a number of projects for building Covid hubs, which universally were a huge success for our clients, in each case supporting significant traffic, engagement and conversion growth.

 

Thereafter the projects have become more diverse, but always in response to an increasing number of commercial opportunities which are arising for the Affino community.

 

What has been great to hear back is that when deployed, digital revenue streams, whilst they often don’t deliver the same total revenue return, have on the whole been more profitable than the in-person alternatives as the overheads and logistics are so much lower.

 

Below are some of the key ways the Affino community are either growing existing revenue streams, or rolling out entirely new ones.

 

2020AFOCaseTheStageSubs700-min
2020AFOCaseTheStageSubs700-min

 

Subscriptions

Introduction

  • Half our investment this year has been in Affino’s subscription and membership services as we have been looking to provide the most effective, automated, and unified subscription marketing, sales, fulfilment and retention platform.
  • We shared our Insight Series (see related sidebar) earlier this year with deep insights on how to move from free to paid subscriptions and memberships, sharing the learnings we have from the past decade.
  • We have also transformed the core Affino subscription services so that they are now far more robust, provide a great deal more intelligence and smarter reporting, and provide the full range of essential tools required for running great subscription and memberships services.

New Revenue Streams

  • There is an ongoing trend to move from free to paid subscriptions.
  • We found that for the brands on Affino, paid-for brands have seen the highest levels of engagement growth this year, and subscription revenues have opened new possibilities for brands at a time when advertising and in-person events have been hit badly.

Recent Affino Enhancements

  • We have made it easy to create your subscription promotions, both for the main services and any specials you are looking to run.
  • The purchasing process has been optimised for subscription sales, including gifting, with easy selection of different payment options, and integrations with the market leading Stripe and GoCardless payment gateways.
  • Core to managing subscriptions is robust reporting, and we have invested hundreds of man hours to rolling out new generations of all the sales and subscription reports, and tight integration through to the payment gateways for end to end reporting drill-downs.
  • To ensure that all the fulfilment is as seamless as possible we have made a host of improvements to the fulfilment automations, with many more triggers and services which can now be fulfilled automatically.
  • The customer My Account screens are now also far more capable and configurable, with the ability for you to determine how far customers can go with cancellations and renewals themselves, across a host of different subscription offerings.
  • There is also a lot more now that can be sold through Affino, ranging from access to digital archives, video libraries, podcasts, and enhanced directories and community spaces.
Video Detail Player
Video Detail Player

 

Podcasts

New Revenue Streams

  • We are seeing a host of new podcasts being created by the Affino community, and where they already have one, many are actively developing more across new target audiences. These are then actively sponsored, typically on a whole series level.
  • We are also seeing clients creating podcasts on a commercial basis on behalf of their clients and promoting them on sponsored hubs on an individual or group of episodes basis.

Recent Affino Enhancements

  • We have launched the new highly capable Affino SaaS podcasting platform, with a great deal of flexibility on how those podcasts can be featured and promoted on behalf of sponsors.

 

Videos

New Revenue Streams

  • This is similar to podcasts above, with a host of videos being created on behalf of clients by media brands. These tend to be sold as part of a promotion package, including other forms of sponsored content and indeed sponsored hubs.

Recent Affino Enhancements

  • The new Affino Video Library service takes videos to the next level in Affino, with an instantly familiar video interface, and the ability to create as many video libraries as needed for each brand.
  • Each video can have a dedicated sponsor, and Affino displays ads directly within the video interface (on top of the next videos).
  • Affino Video (and podcasting) libraries are also highly SEO optimised, with social sharing tools, comments and ratings, and smart video recommendations.

 

Webinars

New Revenue Streams

  • We have seen many forms of webinars these past month, whether in partnership with a client, sponsored, or original.
  • Webinars are the most direct replacement we are seeing to in-person events, and have on the whole been profitable, indeed highly profitable for some clients.
  • We have seen clients create, and deliver, new 50 episode webinar series from scratch over the past few months, where previously they had not delivered a single one. We have seen others grow their audience into thousands of participants for their most popular ones.
  • Many clients have found webinars to be the easiest way to retain event-based earnings, and as a key hook for new subscription services.
  • Webinars operate on so many levels, ranging from deeper community engagement, through to high revenue sponsored opportunities.
  • Clients have also found that the video content coming out of the webinars is a great driver for deeper engagement online, and in many cases a means of driving improved SEO and indeed online sponsorship revenues.
  • Webinars are also frequently tied in with lead generation as the primary hook for lead generation campaigns.

Recent Affino Enhancements

  • We have rolled out the new video library service, see above, as a core to promoting the longevity of webinar content.
  • We have also extended Affino’s ability to generate and export leads, making it simpler to capture data, and merge it into the CRM, and improving how the webinars are promoted through Affino’s event and seminar modules, including adding the new ‘add to calendar’ option on each seminar and event.

 

Directories

New Revenue Streams

  • We are seeing an increased interest in rolling out and enhancing directories, with concerted moves toward creating ‘the’ industry directories for key audiences.
  • A big part of that is providing current information to industries which are being roiled by Covid, and where active operators change by the day, another part is to create the most effective resource directories for industries, with the ability for entrants to promote their brands.

Recent Affino Enhancements

  • We have made dozens of enhancements to improve the directory, so that it is more usable and approachable by both the end user and the client managing their entries.
  • We have also improved the ability for prospects to message the directory entry owner, and for the owner to respond.

 

Digital Archives

New Revenue Streams

  • We are seeing the deployment of digital archives part of premium subscription offerings.
  • This includes short research subscriptions with a limited number of days and downloads.

Recent Affino Enhancements

  • We have greatly enhanced editions so that they can act as searchable digital archives. Key updates include new secure media hosting for the PDF archive, enhanced security options, and daily download limits, which when coupled with conversion events can prevent excessive and invasive use of the archive.
  • Subscription sales and fulfilment are fully automated, supporting trial periods and short as well as extended subscription timeframes.

 

Awards

New Revenue Streams

  • Awards have been highly resilient during the pandemic, with active participation from communities, as they are now one of the few forms of public validation available.
  • There is quite a lot of experimentation with formats, with a focus on making them more entertaining, and largely with pre-recorded material and a live presenter.

Recent Affino Enhancements

  • We have delivered the most requested feature for Awards in Affino, namely payment on and post submission of Awards entries.
  • Given that Affino awards capabilities, including all the promotion, management and judging were already fully online, there’s no barrier to running great awards now.

 

Hubs

New Revenue Streams

  • Hubs remain one of the most effective ways to grow advertising revenues. Building up a menu of sponsored topic hub content and sponsorship options, and then delivering on the content, marketing and social engagement around the hub is becoming the definitive means of growing advertising revenues, and replacing lost print, event and banner ones.

Recent Affino Enhancements

  • We have continuously improved Affino’s stats and reports this year for improved insight into hub activity, and improved customer reporting.
  • We have also greatly improved media presentation on hubs with the new smart media design element, with the ability to play videos and listen to podcasts right on the hub pages.
  • The new bookmarking and My Library enhancements, alongside the My Interests with Topic based notifications, mean there are now more ways to present and interact with topic-based content.
2020AFOCaseTheStageReviews700-min
2020AFOCaseTheStageReviews700-min

 

Reviews

New Revenue Streams

  • Reviews are a new way this year to delve more deeply into the content which matters to your audience.
  • The neutrality of reviews is essential, but the ability to promote, feature, and create a buzz about positive reviews whether they are articles, videos, podcasts or comparisons can be a powerful driver for engaging with your audience and growing revenues.

Recent Affino Enhancements

  • We rolled out a powerful reviews engine earlier this year, recently updated with new ratings, verdict, pros and cons elements.


Community Spaces

New Revenue Streams

  • We are seeing an increasing number of experimental community spaces, used to drive up the value of subscription packages, and move into higher value membership services.
  • There is a clear opportunity to deliver on this now that in-person community spaces are all on hold, and indeed digital spaces will likely become an increasing part of the B2B landscape in the future since even when in-person events resume, it will take a while for all the support and transport infrastructure, and indeed the audience to fully return.

Recent Affino Enhancements

  • We continue to improve Affino’s forum and collaboration capabilities, and whilst there have been no breakthroughs with new features this year, it has largely been the case of catching up with what Affino already has to offer on the community side by most brands.

 

Loyalty Schemes

New Revenue Streams

  • Loyalty schemes can be very effective in encouraging and rewarding behaviour which can lead to improved brand engagement.
  • This can be a crucial extra for onboarding subscribers and members into your community, and best engaging with your content, events and community.
  • Over time it can have a positive impact on all metrics and significantly help drive forward member and subscriber onboarding and retention when done right.

Recent Affino Enhancements

  • We rolled out automated Badges and Rewards over the summer, which can be combined to provide highly engaging rewards schemes
  • Badges are promoted, and ‘won’ by positive activities, and the rewards can then be claimed, either through the store or by filling in a simple claim form, when the user gets enough points to claim them.

Next Steps

The great news is that there is a whole host of new opportunities out there, some the result of pandemic lockdowns and social distancing, but most of of the opportunities are now simply there because the consumer and nature of business has evolved.

 

Executives and audiences are far more open to digital events, remote learning, online awards, and driving engagement online.

 

This changed behaviour, and the realisation for many businesses that they no longer need an office or downtown retail space means that the digital sphere is now far more open to marketing budgets than this time last year, and we are seeing many brands increasingly owning the digital space for their sectors.

 

Many organisations are now also seeing how the lower costs of delivering events and experiences online, lead to greater margins and more global opportunities and markets than they addressed previously.

 

We have provided a host of insight pieces and intelligence briefings to support you with embracing these new tools and opportunities over the past year, and if you want to explore any in more depth, please reach out to your Affino contacts, or directly to myself and Jonathan Collins if you are new to Affino.

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2014 PPA Awards - Procurement Leaders awarded Business Media Brand of the Year (Again!)
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2013 PPA Awards - Procurement Leaders awarded Business Media Brand of the Year
2013 PPA Digital Publishing Awards - Procurement Leaders awarded Business Media Digital Brand of the Year