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Executive Report - By Thomas Baekdal - January 2011

Converting Traffic to Subscribers

You reach out to your readers by embracing a multi-channel strategy. Connect with them by embracing the link, and by demonstrating your value on things that matter to them

The big question every media company is asking themselves is: "How much of our traffic can we convert into paying subscribers?"

I, too, asked this question when I was planning Baekdal Plus. Could this be a viable business model, or would people just go away and never return? We have all seen the catastrophic effect it had on Murdoch's Times of London. And conversion rates for other newspapers haven't been that impressive either.

No doubt it is exceptionally hard to get people to pay for content.

One big problem is that media companies apply traditional conversion metrics to their online audience. Murdoch believed that he could convert 5% of his visitors. It turned out that the number was much closer to 0.5%. Gigaom has a 0.3% conversion rate and Financial Times has a 1.7% conversion rate.

So, in this article I am going to illustrate how much of your online audience you are likely to convert, based on the calculations I made before launching Baekdal Plus.

One Million Readers is not your real audience...

Let us start with a nice round number-like one million absolute unique visitors. How many of those will turn into subscribers?

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What is Baekdal?

Baekdal is a magazine for media professionals, focusing on media analysis, trends, patterns, strategy, journalistic focus, and newsroom optimization. Since 2010, it has helped publishers in more than 40 countries, including big and small publishers like Condé Nast, Bonnier, Schibsted, NRC, and others, as well as companies like Google and Microsoft.

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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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