Analytics Can Inspire New Digital Revenue Ideas for Publishers

When was the last time you really dug in to your Google Analytics?  There are ways for niche magazine publishers to look at the stats to uncover hidden gems that trigger ways to increase digital revenue.

Jeff Bruss, the Publishing King of numbers and Niche Digital Conference speaker, has plenty of analytics knowledge and experience to share. We caught up with him to ask him how he can help you decipher how mobile, page views, visits, trends and anomalies in analytics can inspire new digital revenue ideas.


Jeff Bruss, President of
COLE Publishing 

Niche: Many publishers use Google Analytics but are not fully utilizing the opportunities generated from that data. What is one thing a publisher could do today to utilize more out of their own data?

Jeff Bruss:The most important thing Google Analytics (GA) does for us is identify trends – both good and bad. By attaching query strings to things you want to track you can identify the paths people use to navigate your site. If a query string receives a high number of clicks you can duplicate characteristics associated with it. Likewise, low clicks means you need to take another look and re-evaluate link location, type, text, whatever. Utilizing all of this data leads to an increase page clicks, and increased page views lead to greater revenue opportunities.

Niche: How does this data mining translate into revenue generation gold?

Jeff Bruss: Any publisher’s bread and butter is the subscriber list. The more you know about a given user, the more targeted you can be in your advertising/marketing. For example, by knowing what industries, hobbies, or likes a user has, you can target ads or e-mail blasts by user. Basically the Facebook ad strategy.

Niche: Can you give us some real-world examples of how publishers can use Google Analytics to better target their audience?

Jeff Bruss: My favorite example of real-world use of GA is analyzing your entry and exit points. If traffic is sent via search and that traffic turns one and done, we are experimenting with ways to try and get users to stay longer and eventually subscribe either digitally, print or both. We’ve added a lot of related content links (tracked with query strings) to identify where users go once they get to the site. We try to steer them to similar content, see value in the site, and then provide contact information.

Niche: What’s coming next from Google Analytics? What’s on the horizon that publishers should jump on?

Jeff Bruss: One relatively new feature Google has provided is live stats. This is interesting to for real-time A/B testing or simply watching user behavior during push campaigns like e-newsletters. In real time you can see where users are exiting, staying or going.

Niche: You will be sitting on a panel at the Niche Digital Conference, Tablet Truths-Headless Chicken Freakout Time? How does a tablet strategy translate into revenue generation? Can you give us some examples?

Jeff Bruss: For us we realized that mobile engagement is much higher than traditional desktop engagement. We noticed higher pages view rates, longer duration and less bounce. Since GA doesn’t break out tablet vs. phone visits you have to consider your strategy for both. Knowing you’ve got a more captive audience we try to send them more content tailored to the experience – things like videos, podcasts, etc.

Niche: Sometimes publishers know they should be adopting new strategies but are not sure where to begin. What are some steps that publishers could take right now to get going?

Jeff Bruss: Go to conferences and seminars where you can talk to other publishers. Learn from the early adopters mistakes and triumphs.

Niche: What do you see headed our way in the future with Tablets and other mobile devices? What is the most important trend you think magazine publishers should be on the look out for?

Jeff Bruss: Traffic will only increase from these types of devices. If you snooze, you’ll lose. This is very similar to the way publishers had to attack the web in general 10-15 years ago, only happening much, much faster. We need to jump on now to see where our particular audiences might react better to content and advertising. We need to be concerned with both the content consumers and the advertisers and recognize both sets of needs.  

Niche: Thanks, Jeff for the insight into what publishers can do to glean more gold from their Analytics. Here’s your bonus question–What’s your favorite guilty pleasure food?

Jeff Bruss: Without a doubt– any type of sushi roll.


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