Why email is crucial to local publisher monetization strategies

As local publishers seek to recoup revenue lost during the pandemic, they’re investing in new strategic partnerships and monetization strategies — one of the most important being email.

The good news? It’s working.

According to the 2022 member economic impact report by the Local Media Consortium (LMC), a strategic alliance of local media companies, publishers enjoyed a 21% increase in cost savings and revenue generation. That growth amounted to more than $14 million in cost savings and almost $39 million in revenue.

Partnerships were a driving force behind these strong numbers. According to the Local Media Consortium, local publishers made a whopping 357 partnerships to help them gather data and insights, create branded content, and deliver digital ad campaigns. LiveIntent was among the top-performing partners, empowering local publishers to launch email marketing strategies that increase engagement and revenue.

With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at how email can play an important role in local publishers’ monetization and growth strategies.

The local publisher challenge – and opportunity

Local news publishers have had a tough time surviving the pandemic, with more than 100 local newsrooms having closed by 2021. Why? Because their ad revenue started to dwindle.

As LMC CEO Fran Wills said in 2020, “I don’t think any of us were ready for this. There’s been such a change in the business model for local publishers. We used to have a large share of advertising, and over the last five or so years, that has shifted. More ad dollars are now going to social and search.”

Yet at the same time, local news became more important than ever during the pandemic as people grew hungry for personalized updates and health and safety information about their communities.

“People are clamoring for credible news, so they’re going back to visiting local media sites directly,” Wills said. “We’ve seen a huge spike in direct traffic from local readers.”

That means local publishers have had a major opportunity to tap into these changing audience behaviors and deliver relevant content to their target communities. They just need an effective way to reach those audiences directly and monetize that content to drive revenue.

That’s where email monetization comes in.

How local publishers can benefit from email monetization

As the publisher landscape continues to change, email is perfectly poised to help media outlets — especially local ones — thrive.

By launching email newsletter operations, publishers can reach people directly in their inboxes with real-time updates and personalized content. They can then monetize these newsletters with relevant ads from brand partners. Because while on-site and traditional ad revenue declined for many during the pandemic, newsletter revenue actually grew. As MediaPost reported, local publishers who used LiveIntent for email marketing saw a 32% increase in revenue.

Email can also help publishers navigate a cookieless future and shifting programmatic landscape. That’s because email offers access to a logged-in audience and first-party data, which publishers can use to better understand their readers and deliver personalized experiences. This first-party data can also improve identity and addressability, giving publishers a transparent and privacy-safe way to track and target their audiences.

Publishers can further make the most of their email monetization strategies with these practices:

  • Sell custom audience packages to help advertisers reach the right audiences in the right contexts.
  • Place ads above the fold so users can see and engage with them immediately.
  • Enable various ad sizes to widen your advertiser pool and give advertisers more flexibility with their campaigns,

Learn more about our Publisher Solutions and how to build an email monetization strategy to increase revenue.