Why Audience Engagement is Crucial for Identity

For email-based identity to work for digital advertising, it is NOT enough for you to simply collect email addresses. If a visitor shares their email address with you but that person never returns to your site (so advertisers can recognize...

By Rene Freling

For email-based identity to work for digital advertising, it is NOT enough for you to simply collect email addresses.

If a visitor shares their email address with you but that person never returns to your site (so advertisers can recognize them and show them ads), that email address is useless for identity. 

That’s why it’s so critical to focus on engaging your audience. 

For example, forcing a user to give you an email so they can use a feature of your site, but not working to make sure they LIKE your site and come back, is a waste of time.

Identity isn’t just about getting an email address; it’s about building loyalty. 

And it’s perfectly synced with your other goals for your business. 

You want to increase the time your readers spent on your site and how many of them come back to your site again and again. You want to own your traffic, not be at the whim of algorithms,  by growing a dedicated audience that loves you and your content.

Growing your identity footprint is totally in line with these overall goals.

The publishers who have a deep relationship with their audience will be the most successful in the future. We want to help all of our publishers get there!

4 key takeaways:

  1. CafeMedia Email Identity turns the email addresses people enter on your site into a privacy-conscious identifier that raises advertiser spending.
  2. But identity solutions only work when the visitor comes BACK to your site. That’s why engaging your audience is critical — you need to turn casual visitors into brand loyalists.
  3. Email is one of the best, first places to start building these audience relationships that drive revenue.
  4. With the right strategies, you only need 2% of your visitors to convert to email subscribers to make a difference in your ad revenue. Follow the 2-4-8 recipe we outline in this post!

Audience engagement takes your readers on a journey

To fuel identity, we don’t just want to provide you with the technology. Just because someone gave you their email address doesn’t guarantee they’ll return to your site again. 

We’re deeply focused on helping you engage your audience — we want to arm you with the education, resources, and support to guide your readers through their journey with your brand and build a strong relationship so they want to come back to your site.

What’s the secret to turning casual site visitors into brand loyalists? 

Take each of your readers on a custom “journey” that engages them on a personal level.

While your experience may be unique, many publishers see a relatively similar journey across their audiences today. 

  • Someone is searching for something on a search engine, or they see a piece of interesting content on a social platform. 
  • They click and visit your site.
  • They consume the piece of content they were looking for or that caught their eye.
  • They move on — and they may never return.

As a publisher, the most valuable thing you can do is help that person get to know you and your content so they want to come back again.

Bring them on a journey with you!

  • Offer them something of value (like an ebook, guide, or checklist) in exchange for joining your mailing list
  • Ask them to follow you on a given social media platform, and when they return to your site, ask them to engage in a deeper way
  • If you’ve built up a strong following, you can even ask your readers to log in for special features, or even a paid membership program

The key is customizing every experience based on the individual: where they are, where they came from, what they’re reading, how long they’ve spent on your site, and more.

Email is the perfect way to start an audience engagement journey

We’ve found for many publishers, email is one of the best, first places to start building a journey for your audience:

  1. People are generally happy to provide an email address if they feel like they’re getting something valuable in return.
  2. It’s easier to convince someone to sign up for an email list than to create an account for a service.
  3. Email provides a built-in way to bring people back to your site! A well-run email engagement program can be a great part of your marketing — and again, if you get an email address from someone and they DO come back, they’re far more valuable for your advertising revenue.

If you prioritize ANY channel for your business this year, make it email

Caption: Check out this simple roadmap for thinking about your email strategy this year.

Think outside the email newsletter box 

What does a particular reader coming to your site in a particular way, or enjoying a particular piece of content, need? 

How can you meet that need with a valuable offer that makes giving you an email address an easy decision? 

Then, how can you continue proving your site’s awesome value to that reader, bringing them back again and again for more?

Let’s talk numbers: how many emails do you need to make identity worthwhile?

It’s really important to remember that identity is only one of four initiatives we’re focused on to maximize publisher revenue after the end of third-party cookies. And very realistically, it will be one of the smaller ones for a long time. 

If you’re wondering where your email list stands compared to massive global media companies, I can let you in on a little secret… 

Our team has discussed identity with a bunch of them, and they don’t have that many authenticated followers either.

Even with years of experience focused on getting users to opt-in for different reasons, the average percentage of “authenticated users” is in the low single-digits.

The 2-4-8 audience engagement recipe

When we think about what an Identity win looks like for CafeMedia publishers, we’re focused on the numbers 2, 4, and 8.

  • 2% of readers authenticated: Aim to get 2% of your users to share their email address with you, and do so in a way that provides value and deepens engagement.
  • 4% of traffic: Aim for those users to drive 4% of your traffic as they come back more often and engage with you more.
  • 8% of revenue: Expect that return traffic, over time, to translate into 8% of your advertising revenue, since those users will be more valuable to advertisers and to you!

But remember — those email subscribers are only valuable if they return to your site. Can you bring those readers back to your site at least twice a month? If so, you’ve succeeded at the 4% traffic goal.

And thanks to CafeMedia Email Identity, we’ll handle the revenue side of things.

As you ramp up your successes, you can set even stronger goals — 5-10-20 and beyond!

What about the rest of your traffic?

Remember, identity is only one of four major initiatives we’re invested in. Identified readers are extremely valuable, but we’re invested in tons of ways to increase the value of the rest of your traffic (like our contextual advertising advancements and direct advertiser sales). 

Overall, our solution for growing our publishers’ authenticated readership isn’t to force you or your readers into a one-size-fits-all solution. 

We’re dedicated to going far beyond technology to make sure we’re supporting CafeMedia publishers with deep service, consultative assistance, and a comprehensive approach to rebuilding advertising without third-party cookies.

You can bank on it!