By: Karina Fabian, Marketing Communications Specialist

In August, WAN-IFRA released a study about news media subscription and the strategy for preventing reader churn. Retaining readers is less costly than finding new ones, but it isn’t necessarily easier. The study, which involved dozens of publishers in the United States and Europe, found that, whatever tactics they used, one thing was key: Engaged Readers Don’t Churn.

Report author, Cecilia Campbell, the Executive Program Editor of WAN-IFRA, determined there are six things successful publishers do to inspire reader retention.

  1. Ensure your entire organization thinks about reader retention – from the paywall manager to the feature writer, each has a role. Smart organizations ensure that everyone is on board with the latest strategies and have realistic KPIs toward reader retention.
  2. Provide value for your reader. It’s not just quality of writing or presentation, but also how your products set you apart from the competition. As Campbell writes, “Whatever you do, make sure you’re indispensable for your customers.”
  3. Provide personalized content. This replies not only on segmentation and feed according to reader interest, but also a recognition that the same articles that drive readers to your site may not be the ones that keep them – even when in the same topic.
  4. Determine KPIs that work. Traffic statistics and clicks do not tell you as much as time on site or frequency of returns. You need to determine which statistics best predict the likelihood a reader will become or remain loyal – and set your goals toward those KPIs.
  5. Be proactive in preventing churn. Determine what indicators lead to reader churn and take steps to react, such as a notice if a reader clicks away from a story quickly. Also, take steps to remind your readers about the value you bring, such as emails summarizing your great content or special offers to subscribers.
  6. Always strive for the best user experience. You should never take your UX for granted, but keep looking for ways to improve, test new ideas and features, and get reader feedback.

The report goes into great detail with examples and quotes from publishers. It’s available for free for WAN-IFRA members and for purchase for non-members. You can learn more at

About the Author: Karina Fabian has been writing about business and software for over a decade. Before joining Newscycle, she wrote reviews of business software and services for Top Ten Reviews and Tom’s Guide, and about business practices and leadership for Business News Daily and In addition to writing for Newscycle, she is a freelance writer and author of 16 books.