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Meg Estevez

The Importance of Surveys

Meg Estevez Audience Development - 04/17/2014-16:20 PM


Lately all you read about is how it’s necessary to have an understanding of how your marketing affects your data and vice versa. I for one feel we have been doing this for a very long time in the Audience Development (Circulation) field. Everything we do is focused on analysis done of previous marketing so, in essence, we are data-driven professionals. That’s how we operate—show us the data. 

And we have lots of data to analyze and digest: from circulation reports, to BPA or AAM statements, email marketing promotions, online marketing, digital edition deployments and engagement reports, Google Analytics, renewal analysis and new business acquisitions, to revenue and expense tracking reports. All of these reports together give us a strong picture of what is working and why and whether or not our goals make sense. What they don’t give us is feedback directly from our readers.

That brings me to the topic of this blog—surveys. Why they are important, how frequently we should do them, and what we need to get out of them.

1. Why Are Surveys Important?

They are important because they’re the most reliable method to get real feedback from our subscribers—no matter what platform they use to engage with our brands (print, digital, apps, newsletter, and website).
2. How Often Should We Do Surveys?
It depends on the type of survey. If someone expired with the March issue and you have a last effort renewal going out in April, you should wait 4-6 weeks to get responses and then send the survey (around last week of May) to those that didn’t renew. By doing this you are adding an extra effort into your renewal (or requal schedule) but it’s also the best time to get input.

3. What Should We Look For?
It’s important to establish this when you are creating the survey questions. What do you want to know? For example, are you interested to know if your subscribers want an app version of the brand? (If so, don’t forget to ask for their email address so you can alert them when the app is available). Or do you want to know whether there’s price sensitivity? There are many things you can learn by establishing these survey efforts with the right timing.

In my experience people like to provide feedback (good and bad). If you ask the right questions you will get answers that will give you yet another piece to add to the puzzle and understand your audience better. It’s important that the surveys are timely (don’t contact an expired reader about why they didn’t renew two years later); also keep it to a maximum of 5 questions and make sure that at least one of them are open -ended so they can provide you with their own explanations of what’s good or bad with the brand.

And always provide them with your best offer to come back as a subscriber. For trade publications, it’s best to list all the important articles and features they are missing by not renewing. And for paid publications, your best discounted offer should be there for them to take advantage of; just in case they change their mind after (or before) filling out the survey. At New Bay Media, we are constantly sending out surveys and monitoring the responses to ensure we aren’t missing any important data from our best resources—our readers!



Meg Estevez

What Digital Edition Engagement Reports Can Tell Us

Meg Estevez Audience Development - 03/20/2014-11:37 AM


As we find ways to get our digital editions opened by our audience on any platform, we also need to understand the level of engagement we have within the digital editions. Below I’ll discuss the various levels of data that you’ll need to compile into one report to understand your digital readers and to help your publisher sell the digital edition banners and different ad spots more effectively.

What Data Should You Compile?

Our digital edition reporting is done via Comscore. It’s not very user friendly, but with some basic training and patience you should be able to get all the information you need to compile this report. First, start by collecting the number of emails that are deployed with the digital edition link to your subscribers. This includes sents, opens, and click-throughs. Then, download your issue data from Comscore (or whichever reporting system that is linked to your editions). This will include traffic report, platform report, clicks on links by page, page view summary, editorial page report, sponsor banner ad report, plus other data depending whether you have videos or other rich media in the digital edition.

Here are some examples:

Email Deployment Stats

This is the report from your email deployment system.

Traffic Report: Comscore

This report comes from the Comscore reporting system. It provides information that is similar to what we are used to seeing from Google Analytics for our Web pages, but for our digital editions. This is one of the most important reports because it gives you an overall picture of how many unique readers are interacting with the digital edition by issue, as well as page views and average time spent per open.

Platform Report: Comscore

The platform report provides data the traffic report has, but it separates the audience by the platform that they used to access the digital editions. This report will tell you the level of interactions you have on different smart devices versus those accessing the issues via desktop browsers.

These are just a few of the reports or engagement information that you can compile for your digital editions. The most important thing to keep in mind is that you need to compile what you need to make smarter/better branding or promotional decisions as well as what your publisher needs.

It takes a lot of time and effort to keep these reports up-to-date on a monthly basis, especially if you handle multiple brands. At New Bay, we have been able to help our publishers gain more information about our digital audience engagement with these reports which they in turn can use to sell ads. (Many brands have been able to successfully sell digital ads due to this data). On the audience development side, we're able to understand what impacts our increase in unique readers and we're working hard to increase our engagement with every issue.



Meg Estevez

5 Quick Tips for Setting Up a Basic Lead-Gen Operation

Meg Estevez Audience Development - 02/13/2014-11:27 AM


With the new year well under way, one item that has been of focus to the audience development department at NewBay Media is lead generation. Below I’ll discuss how we can help our publishers in gating white papers, digital supplements, etc., in an effort to generate leads and keep track of what our readers are interested in. It’s a win-win situation if done correctly.

1. First it’s important to understand that yes, it’s more work for the audience development department to take on the responsibility of gating these products in an effort to generate leads. However, it’s important to capture all the information we can on our readers and have it in one database instead of having these leads kept outside of it and out of our control.

2. At NewBay Media we use one of our fulfillment houses to gate the forms that will in turn give access to the reader. 

3. We work with the sales person or publisher to ensure that we are collecting the information they need from these leads. Once we have that information we work with the fulfillment house to create the gated form. 

4. The gated form is linked to our database, where all the leads are fed into a specific path that is later accessible to us to either download or email other potential products/information to those leads.

5. We then move on to create the email (again with the approval of the publisher) that will provide information about the product and a link to the gated page. Once the person fills out the form, they gain immediate access to the white paper, digital edition, etc.

The beauty of this process is that once you set up one form all you need to do is have the form cloned/replicated to use for a different product. So the more you do it the easier it gets. And the main goal is to feed all the information that the reader is providing on the form back into the database and tied into their record. This helps us build a more robust database of our readers.



Meg Estevez

Building an Integrated Marketing Requal Plan

Meg Estevez Audience Development - 12/10/2013-13:55 PM


We’ve been focusing on fine tuning our 2014 integrated marketing campaigns here at New Bay Media. When I thought about how to start this process it occurred to me that when we think about an integrated marketing campaign we usually figure that it’s for our brands with a paid model and mostly for new business. Since I have a handful of trade (controlled only) titles as well, I thought about what I could do to create an effective integrated marketing campaign focused on requalification. Below I’ll take you through the process of how I started my integrated marketing campaign for 15 trade titles.

The answer is in the cover tip message/design.

Yes, that’s where I started. We do A LOT of requal emails throughout the year and we go from soft messages to stronger, building on the urgency as we get closer to our goal dates (May 31 for May books or November 30th for November books). But what we weren't doing with these email messages was taking them all the way across the different marketing methods within the same time that the email goes out, thus capitalizing on the roles of various marketing methods like banner ads, interstitials, etc. to provide our audience with clearer picture of what they need to do to keep their free issues coming to them.

Once I had my cover tip efforts set in place, I had to decide what other marketing channels I wanted to include and how I was going to keep the message consistent throughout the efforts. 

1. Start with when the print issue will be mailed with the cover tip.

2. If the February issue with the cover tip mails in January, then all of the other efforts related to this cover tip should go live in January.

3. This will help keep the messaging consistent. The idea is that the person who gets the print magazine with the tip should have received an email a couple of days before announcing the tip. And if they visit the website during January, they should see the interstitials and banner ads with the same messaging and design. If they get a newsletter in January, there should be a banner ad projecting the same message. And lastly, for those brands that offer free access to the iPad/iPhone apps, we’ll have banners ads in the container app and push notices.

My goal with the integrated requalification marketing campaign is to build this awareness with the reader that we want them to do something. There’s an action they need to take in order to keep getting their free issues.

We are ready to start this integrated requalification marketing campaign with 2014. Obviously these cover tip-based integrated marketing efforts are not the only efforts that we are going to be using, but I’m projecting that building on the message of the cover tip with other traditional and nontraditional marketing efforts will increase the overall requalification responses related to that messaging. We are going to have unique tracking code for each marketing channel and I promise to follow up next year in the fall to let everyone know how it did.


Meg Estevez

Tips for Creating a Complete Audience Metrics Report

Meg Estevez Audience Development - 09/03/2013-14:09 PM


What should a metrics report include? One thing is for sure: it needs to be more than what we report in our BPA statements. But how do we decide what that 'more' is and who should have access to the data? Here I’ll highlight what a metrics report is and how to create one with all the data points needed to make it a complete report that almost everyone in the company will love.

First, a metrics report is a method of measuring the results obtained from different sources. In this case we are looking for our audience numbers. The kinds of sources we use in the metrics reports depend on how big of a picture, by brand, we want to see of our audience. At NewBay Media, our metrics reports include monthly numbers from our websites, newsletters, social media, digital platforms and print distribution.

It was important for us to have one central report that provides a big picture of our audience from all of these sources. This helped us determine if it made sense to report them in the brand statements for BPA, but also to keep track of how our audience might be growing on one end and decreasing on another.

Starting a Metrics Report

1. It doesn’t matter when you start, you’ll need to go back and gather all the numbers from December 2012 to current.
2. For the Google Analytics, you can either look the unique visitor and page views by month or you can select the time period you need, the metrics you want, and download to Excel.
3. Most of our brands have weekly or daily newsletters—we add an average for the month in the metrics report.
4. For Twitter you’ll need to capture this data at the end of each month, unless you pay for access to or other service. If you are capturing this data to report on a BPA statement, you’ll need to do screen grabs of each month and save them for audit purposes.
5. If you have admin access for your Facebook page, then you can easily log in and download the metrics for the time period needed. If you are not an admin (if you aren’t, you should be) then you’ll need to create screen grabs as well.
6. Don’t forget to add your LinkedIn group metrics as well. You just need to create a screen grab at the end of the month.
7. Remember to include all your iPad downloads. This is important if you are going to be reporting iPad downloads on your BPA brand statement. The good thing is that all you need to do is either take the numbers from your Apple raw data reports or create an account with AppFigures and grab the numbers from there.

Once we had these reports created and up to date we were able to meet with the publishers and have them decide what they wanted to report in the new BPA brand audits. The most impressive thing that came out of these meetings was that the publishers wanted to see these numbers not just for BPA reporting purposes, but on a monthly basis for all of their brands, even those without a print component.

Why? Because of the “big picture” and how they can monetize this data by selling Facebook posts and tweets from the editors on behalf of the advertiser. This can also be done with LinkedIn groups. A discussion can be set up about a product and links on where to get more information. This will turn into leads for the advertisers. And last but not least iPad downloads show the audience we have with the container app, and this gives the publisher the ability to also sell to this audience.


Next Time:
I’ll talk about push notifications.
Until then…


Meg Estevez

Deciding How to Bundle Print and Digital Subscriptions

Meg Estevez Audience Development - 08/08/2013-13:49 PM


How do you decide whether to bundle print and digital subscriptions? Some say that we need to stop offering separate print and digital subscriptions so the audience can get used to the idea of reading magazines digitally. Why? Because that’s where we are moving and it’s our job to get our readers comfortable with the idea that they can get the same value out of reading a magazine on a desktop, tablet or smartphone. So how do you decide what to offer?

Here, I’ll discuss the different subscription models that we have at NewBay Media and the pros and cons of each; plus what we do to keep track of our digital circulation in all the different platforms in order to report them as qualified circulation in the BPA and AAM statements.

All of our Kindle, Nook and Google Play editions have a paid model. However, our Apple editions are more complex. We have 14 magazines with a paid model and 9 with a log-in for free activation. 

Paid Model: Apps Only

Under this model the magazines do not offer a combined print/digital subscription offer. When we refer to digital under this model; we are only referring to digital on the Apple, Kindle, Nook or Google Play editions. This model is straightforward. We have 3 offers: Single copies, one-month and one-year subscriptions.

Pros: It’s simple to execute. Offering one delivery method; subscribers get it on their smart devices. No programming expense to communicate with your subscriber database.

Cons: Subscribers complain about wanting a bundle subscription or they want to transfer their print subscription to a digital subscription on one of these devices.

Paid Model: Bundle

We currently have two magazines under this model. The subscriber is offered a print bundle that includes an all-access plan where they get the print, the desktop edition, iPad/iPhone edition and online access to the website. Or they can opt to get everything except the print.

Subscribers use the form that is attached to our database. We have a handle on how the offers are doing and how our audience is reacting to the print bundles versus the digital-only access.

Cons: There is a lot of programming that needs to be done up front to create a log-in process within the app that pings our database when a subscriber wants to activate an account. Sometimes the log-in process is not very user friendly, which results in higher customer service calls or emails in the first couple of months.

Free (Activation Required) Model: One-Year Subs Only

This is one of the most involved models. We currently have 7 controlled magazines that offer free access to the iPad/iPhone edition, but the subscriber needs to authenticate a print subscription. This model works almost identically to the Paid Bundle Model referenced above; with the difference that we only allow free access to those controlled one-year subscribers on the file at the time they activate their subscription. 

This was set up with some programming between our fulfillment house and the app vendor. Immediate access is granted to one-year subscribers when they activate their iPad account. But two-year or older subscribers see an error message that tells them to fill out a form, available within the app. Once they fill out the form it feeds directly to our fulfillment database and grants access.

Our fulfillment house is able to flag the subscribers that activate their accounts and those that renew their subscription, which means we know exactly who those readers are. And we now have a new benefit to offer our readers to get them to requalify sooner.

Cons: The programming involved to get this to work properly. The log-in process asks for an email address to log in. If they don’t have an email address on file with us then they need to contact customer service to have it added in order to grant them access.

As you can probably imagine, keeping track of all these apps and the different models takes time and a good detailed BPA approved report. That’s why we had to invest many hours to create a report that provides all of this information in one place. The report has been set up to feed from the raw data provided by all the vendors and our goal is to supply this report to the auditors so they can have a one stop shop of all the data they need to verify the digital circulation for all of these platforms—and in turn reduce the auditing hours that this will likely bring. As of today, we have BPA’s approval on the report, but we will not know how good it is until it passes through an audit. I’ll be sure to let everyone know how it does.  

Next Time:
I’ll talk about metric reports, what they should have and why they are important to almost everyone in the company.

Until then…


Meg Estevez

Digital Edition and App Quality Control

Meg Estevez Consumer - 07/02/2013-13:54 PM


Once we are set with our digital subscription offers and people start subscribing—the calls, emails, and Facebook post complaints start pouring in. And just like with our print products, we need to make sure we have some quality control processes in place, bundled with a customer service that’s fast to respond to these inquiries. Here, I outline what we do at NewBay Media to ensure that our digital editions are rendering properly on all platforms, that they go live on schedule and how we handle the customer service.

Quality Control

This is one of the most important and time consuming processes that we handle in our department. Currently, New Bay Media has 23 Apple editions (with different circulation models), 9 Nook editions, 7 Kindle editions, 8 on Google Play and 2 on Zinio. The first thing we did was create a master schedule (just like we have for our print edition), which provides the due dates for file uploads, approvals and on-sale and live dates. We then use this schedule to go into all of our platforms and check that the issues go live on time and that they are rendering/displaying properly in the device.

It’s important to have this quality control in place so we can catch any problems that our readers might experience and fix them quickly. And if in the process we get a customer complaint we can inform them that we are fixing the problem. Our quality control person also checks the pricing on our single issues and subscriptions. This is especially important when we are doing discounted promotions for a certain time period; we want to make sure that what we are promoting is what the reader is seeing on the device.

Customer Service

By having our quality control process in place we are able to service our readers better when they call. We also feel it’s important to have one dedicated customer service representative handle all the inquiries from our Apple subscribers. We provide this rep’s name, direct email and phone number within our apps via banner ads (inside the issues). A tab in the container app also provides the customer service contact information and cross promotes to our other brands.


Our policy is to reply to our customers as fast as we can, especially since most of them are reaching us via email. Even if we don’t have a solution to their request we let them know that we are looking into it. Obviously, customer service for the digital platforms is not very different from print. Bugs, however, are an issue unique to apps and digital editions. In these cases, we have to be in constant communication with the readers who experience a technical glitch—asking them for screen grabs of what they are seeing on their devices and following up with them to make sure that once the bug is fixed they are not continuing to experience it.  

Apart from the complaints we get via email and phone, we also monitor the comments left on our iTunes and Facebook pages. For the Apple editions you can find the customer reviews link in your iTunes Connect account. This will give you a listing of all the comments for the all the different versions of the app. You cannot respond to the comments left on this page, but it does provide insight into the reader experience. On Facebook, we can reply to customer concerns and address any issues offline.

It’s important to have a quality control process in place for all of your digital platforms. This helps you prevent bad customer experiences and lets you catch and correct problems sooner. And as you move more of your magazines onto all the different platforms, your quality control process will get longer and more tedious, but it’s just a matter of scheduling and time management. Like anything else we tackle as marketers and circulators, we can intelligently deal with these issues no matter how many apps we have to review or how many customer complaints we have to resolve.

In my next post, I’ll talk about the different circulation models we have throughout our various digital platforms and our system for reporting them as qualified circulation in our BPA and ABC statements.

Until then…



Meg Estevez

Helping Readers Make Sense of Your Digital Brand Offers

Meg Estevez emedia and Technology - 06/06/2013-14:59 PM


It’s easy to understand what a print magazine is. When our readers sign up for a print subscription they know what they’re going to get. But a “digital subscription”—with an ever-growing array of devices and platforms— is such a broad term nowadays. It can be confusing for our readers to understand what we are offering them.

If we offer the iPad edition, readers will also ask about the Android version, the Nook edition, the Kindle edition or the Google Play version. And where does that leave our beloved web-based digital edition—that link we email our readers? What version or edition do we name it so we don’t confuse our readers?

We need to show our audiences and our readers that they now truly have the option to read the magazine on different platforms or devices, and that they can really read it the way they want. Below I’ve outlined three variations of digital editions and how we market them to our readers:

1. The Computer or Desktop Browser Version: In my marketing efforts we’ve re-named this digital version the “web-based digital edition.” The distinction was necessary because people signing up for digital-only versions or a print and digital combo were under the impression that they were also signing up for the iPad/iPhone edition.

2. iPad/iPhone: When marketing the Apple digital edition, we are making sure we let our readers know that they can read the magazine on both the iPad and iPhone device. It’s one subscription as long as they use one Apple ID on both devices.

3. Nook/Kindle/Google Play: These three digital platforms are interesting to market. A person who has an Apple device can easily download the Nook, Kindle or Google Play application and can log into their account and access our magazines. Or if they have one of these devices they can also find our magazines there.

However, when we marketed these digital subscriptions individually, we felt we were confusing our audience and many times not offering them the platform that they wanted. To help make it clear for them, we combined all the digital subscription offers into one message, as the image above shows. This type of combined promotion seemed to be the most effective way to let our readers know where to find us and how they can subscribe.

The important thing to keep in mind with all of these platforms is pricing. If you have one rate on one platform and a lower rate on another, the customer will notice.

As you can see, this is just the start. Next time I’ll talk about quality control and customer service issues regarding digital editions, and how we handle them.

If you have any questions feel free to email me at

Until then.