Can Digital Editions Be Sexy?
The importance of this, he stresses, is that "few publishers sell off of CTR these days, but rather on CPM [cost per thousand]. ● If we look at the fact that digital editions tend to have fewer views, selling based on CPM means you're drastically undervaluing a product with a much greater CTR."
What About Open Rates?
The main motivation publishers have for launching digital or mobile products "is still a 'value-added to print' mind-set," says Edwards, "which is probably appropriate for most in the first couple of years, because you have to transition your customers from print to digital and mobile, and try and offer as many options as possible."
The second most popular reason "is the growing [number of] publishers who see it as a way to cut print and distribution costs," he notes, and "third is to add interactivity and engagement to customers' experience. Fourth is because they view digital and mobile as a brand new, non-cannibalizing revenue stream, [and] fifth is to monetize the Web (or mobile Web) for the first time. Sixth," says Edwards, "is competitive advantage."
A question that comes to mind for most publishers when talking about digital editions and the opportunities for them moving forward, regardless of their launch motivation, is: What kind of open rates are we seeing with them? What data exists proves this a hard factor to generalize, notes David Renard, a partner at research firm mediaIDEAS. "Having seen many publishers' data, I have seen wide ranges from single-digit open rates on digital magazine announcement e-mails to more than 30 percent with a corresponding dramatic change in actual people reading the magazine—from .001 percent to 15 percent. …" he says.
A 16-percent open rate on digital edition e-mail announcements seems to be accepted as the industry average, though factual data and current reports are hard to come by. Still, most publishers Publishing Executive has spoken with fall somewhere around that 16 percent (with a few definite variants from that number), and most publishers seem to be quite ecstatic with open rates of 20-plus percent.