The publisher’s guide to subscriber retention

One side effect of the pandemic has been an upward trend in publishers’ subscriber numbers. An analysis by Piano found that among the largest subscription sites on its platform, there was a median growth in active subscriptions of 58% from 2019 to 2020. Subscriptions continued to grow throughout 2021, but steadied to a more manageable pace of 36.1% without the kind of surges that happened in 2020. In the wake of this, retaining subscribers has become an increasingly important — and challenging — task.

Rather than reacting to recently churned or likely-to-churn subscribers with point solutions, publishers are focusing on optimizing the customer experience at critical moments where churn is most likely. Piano found that the most common points of churn are shortly after they first subscribe, and the days and weeks leading up to renewal.

With these high-risk phases of the subscriber lifecycle in mind, publishers are building marketing strategies and implementing tactics that optimize the customer journey to encourage retention. Solid, integrated data and insights can help publishers spot subscribers with the highest churn risk and target them accordingly at these decision points.

This tactical guide by Digiday and Piano presents approaches that publishers are using to proactively address churn and increase retention at these particularly vulnerable moments in the subscriber journey.

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