Publishers Must Adopt New Tech Without Hurting User Experience

Keith Sibson, VP of product & marketing at email service provider PostUp believes that the future success of publishing businesses is entirely tied to data. If publishers have a central platform on which to view and analyze all of their data, they will be more successful in serving their audiences and advertisers and implementing new technology. As Sibson notes, every new technology has some sort of impact on user experience, and it isn’t always a positive one. With a deep understanding of data analytics, publishers can implement new solutions with greater confidence and ease.

In the following Q&A, Sibson explains why data insights and new technology need to go hand-in-hand.

PostUp sponsored the 2016 FUSE Media Summit.

What emerging technology or trends do you think will have a profound impact on the media business in 2020?

Virtual reality will change the media business in a largely predictable way. It will become a new channel format … “does this video come in VR?”

More generally for media and publishing, data and analytics will be even more important than it is today. Already low startup costs for publishing and media businesses will become vanishingly small, and those that can act and react the fastest, based on data, will emerge as winners.

What are the biggest challenges media companies must overcome as they adopt and implement new technology?

There are many, but to focus on one area, web-based publishing and media companies face a double-edged sword with technologies that affect the user experience. On one hand, marketers and product managers want technology that they can manage directly, without requiring IT or developers. However, user experience can be a delicate balance between multiple KPIs, and an over-eager marketer with good intentions and powerful tools can hurt your user experience by focusing too much on one KPI.

Media companies dependent on advertising revenue must ensure that new audience-facing technologies do not disrupt other parts of the user experience in unexpected ways, potentially impacting revenue. It is important that the business owners (publisher, revenue officers, etc.) have visibility into the effect of these technologies. The best way to do this is to ensure that analytics are centralized, and usually this means tying the new technology into your existing analytics platform such as Google Analytics or Adobe Analytics.

What should media companies be doing now to prepare for the future and stay ahead of the curve when it comes to technology adoption?

Centralized analytics. With so much new technology and increasing ease of deployment, it’s critical that the activity of all that technology can be examined in one place. If the data is not readily available to all, it will be ignored.

Why do you think media businesses should attend FUSE: The Convergence of Technology & Media?

It’s important to occasionally get outside of the four walls of how you do business, and speak with both vendors and peers who may see things from a different perspective. There will be multiple vendors present, and each will bring a new and different perspective to the media business.

What specific tech innovations has PostUp developed that will enable media companies to accelerate their businesses?

At PostUp, we are focused on email, and we distil down our clients’ email programs to the fundamentals of the email “funnel,” which is what ultimately drives revenue. Every media company’s email funnel consists of: list size, email frequency, inbox placement rate, open rate, clickthrough rate, and unsubscribe rate. Using our advanced Power Analytics platform, based on Tableau Enterprise, we can determine where in the funnel clients are underperforming relative to their peers, and can focus on solving that specific problem. We have specialized tools focused on improving each part of the funnel from acquisition to conversion.


Ellen Harvey is a freelance writer and editor who covers the latest technologies and strategies reshaping the publishing landscape. She previously served as the Senior Editor at Publishing Executive and Book Business.