Data & AI to get users, optimize ads

Vaibhav Khanna and Puneet Jain share insights at Wan-Ifra Digital Media India

Vaibhav Khanna, head of product and subscriptions, NDTV Profit at Wan-Ifra Digital Media India. Photo Wan-Ifra

On Day 2 of the Wan-Ifra Digital Media India summit in Delhi, a major part of the discussions veered around the use of data and artificial intelligence (AI) to acquire and retain subscribers as well as suggest monetization strategies.

Data is the key to finding the balance between securing subscriptions and maximizing advertising impressions, explained Vaibhav Khanna, head of product and subscriptions, NDTV Profit. Good and qualitative data play a key role in increasing subscriber retention and engagement. It, thus, becomes vital for a news organization to profile subscribers based on their location and organization, he said.

Khanna talked about best practices that helped NDTV optimize data analytics. These include Google Analytics for user behavior and custom events, MoEngage for marketing automation; Looker Studio for custom dashboards; Chartbeat for content; and Subscription Stack for managing subscriptions.

News organizations need to align editorial, product and marketing around common engagement goals. For this, the active days per month, logged-in or percentage of known users, paywall stop rate, mobile app installs and newsletter opt-ins need to be tracked, he said. Users who have installed a news organization’s mobile app are nine times more likely to become paid subscribers. Newsletters are also crucial to build a loyal user base.

It is important to study loyal subscribers to find engagement action. According to Khanna’s estimate, the first 7 – 10 days after the user registers are crucial for news organizations. 

Apart from analyzing top sources driving subscription for loyal subscribers, tailoring content strategies to enhance conversations and pushing mobile app downloads and newsletter subscriptions helps retain users. Social media users are suitable for website registrations and branding, he said.

Though mobile apps provide an enhanced user reading experience on iOS and Android, newsletter subscribers who follow specific authors and/or have saved bookmarks are the most likely to subscribe.

Khanna said it is important to link engagement with revenue as increased engagement drives subscriber value and ad revenue with retention as the cornerstone of growth. It, thus, makes sense to understand the ‘aha’ moment and capitalize on it.

He said NDTV uses the RFM/RFV segmentation tool to track when users last visited the website or app, how many times they logged in, and which stories they viewed. The tool creates categories such as loyal customers, potential loyalists and promising customers. 

At the same time, it is important to identify at-risk customers and revive inactive users with targeted strategies such as solid data analytic events and an active engagement team that creates effective communication strategies to deal with these users.

AI to build products

In another session, Puneet Jain, CEO, HT Digital Streams, shared insights and real-life examples on the use of data analytics and AI in building digital products and scaling businesses. The session delved into leveraging AI as a tool to achieve objectives.

Puneet Jain, CEO, HT Digital Streams at Wan-Ifra Digital Media India. Photo Wan-Ifra

According to him, data and AI can be of great help in content generation and augmentation, personalizing user experience using specific features and monetization. AI can be used in many ways across the content value chain. These include story ideation, aggregation, story generation, and multimedia formats such as text-to-audio and videos.

For augmentation, AI can help with summaries, headlines, translations and extended formats such as shorts and tables while social media content suggestions such as captions and hashtags and platform adaptive formats help with distribution. However, caution must be taken with Google core updates and unnecessary spam, he said.

AI and data analytics can assist news organizations with content recommendations, logins, polls/quizzes, registrations, notifications, translations, ads and chatbots. Building personalized user journeys is an important aspect of increased user engagement and can be achieved with the help of cohorts or rule-based linear methodologies. Jain said adopting these strategies can help in 20% more user engagement, leading to 20% more revenue for the organization.

Echoing Khanna, Jain said AI can be effectively used for advertisement monetization through inventory creation, pricing and fulfillment. This can include collaborating with advertising partners to showcase ads to the right users, generating high-performing creatives, real-time use group analysis and giving more value to customers and partners through contextual ad placement for maximum engagement. 

HT Digital is currently employing anomaly detection and real-time ad placements for effective ad monetization, Jain shared.

Jain said ethical issues such as plagiarism, bias, fake news, etc., must be addressed while using AI. Responsible AI includes accountability, fairness, inclusiveness, reliability, transparency, privacy and security, Jain added.

AI will be to digital what digital was to traditional news media, Jain concluded.

In 2024, we are looking at full recovery and growth-led investment in Indian printing

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. It created the category of privately owned B2B print magazines in the country. And by its diversification in packaging, (Packaging South Asia), food processing and packaging (IndiFoodBev) and health and medical supply chain and packaging (HealthTekPak), and its community activities in training, research, and conferences (Ipp Services, Training and Research) the organization continues to create platforms that demonstrate the need for quality information, data, technology insights and events.

India is a large and tough terrain and while its book publishing and commercial printing industry have recovered and are increasingly embracing digital print, the Indian newspaper industry continues to recover its credibility and circulation. The signage industry is also recovering and new technologies and audiences such as digital 3D additive printing, digital textiles, and industrial printing are coming onto our pages. Diversification is a fact of life for our readers and like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

India is one of the fastest growing economies in nominal and real terms – in a region poised for the highest change in year to year expenditure in printing equipment and consumables. Our 2024 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock – to emphasize your visibility and relevance to your customers and turn potential markets into conversations.

– Naresh Khanna

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