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Plus Report - By Thomas Baekdal - May 2022

Why advertising and subscriptions are so hard to mix, but not impossible

One question I get quite often is how publishers can retain their advertising focus while also doing subscriptions, and it's one of those questions that is really difficult to answer.

In theory, advertising and subscriptions can work quite well together. The subscription team and the advertising team don't have to be opposite each other. But to do that requires a very different approach, and a change in expectations and revenue goals.

But in this Plus article, let's talk about what those are, and how this works. But also why it stops working if you just do advertising the normal way.

The advertising model is pretty simple

Let's start by talking about advertising. As some of you know, I used to work in the fashion industry before I worked in the media, and here I was responsible for our digital media, including how and where to use our digital ad budget.

In other words, I was the one who made the decision of where to advertise. And, the formula for a successful ad campaign is pretty simple. Many people try to turn it into something that is hugely complicated, and the entire ad tech system constantly adds so much complexity that it's ridiculous. But the concept of successful advertising is super simple.

It consists of three elements: Targeting, reputation, and delivery.

But, the crazy thing about the world we live in today is that almost none of the digital platforms, including what we do as publishers, provides these things in any useful way. And it's because of this disconnect that we also have so many problems trying to mix advertising with subscription (well, partly).

 
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Thomas Baekdal

Founder, media analyst, author, and publisher. Follow on Twitter

"Thomas Baekdal is one of Scandinavia's most sought-after experts in the digitization of media companies. He has made ​​himself known for his analysis of how digitization has changed the way we consume media."
Swedish business magazine, Resumé

 

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