​Economist.com uses reader data and vertical slices to promote relevant custom content to their customers.

​Offline​ ​publications have invested a lot of time and money toward developing strategies to transition their revenue-driving products to the web.​ ​Web content is a growing resource for traditional publishers and businesses looking engage web audiences, and media leaders demonstrate that having the power to position timely and effective CTAs – or ads – can compel viewers to convert. The Economist offers marketers a great example of effective audience targeting.

In a recent interview with eMarketer, Global Publisher of Economist Digital Nick Blunden spoke about the brand’s move from print to computer screens, and how the evolution of the company has affected its revenue stream. According to Blunden, 70 percent of Economist.com’s revenue comes from advertising and around 30 percent from subscriptions. How does The Economist convert so many online users through advertising? Blunden highlights the brand’s unique strategy, showing that audience targeting and web content personalization can do the trick.

Blunden notes that The Economist publishes eBooks and unique mobile applications. However, instead of advertising the entire online edition to prospects, The Economist offers a vertical slice of the branded content and matches the subject matter with the right online users. For example, the publisher will take all of its recent articles on the topic of “Marketing” and will promote a download of the content to online users who have shown interest in marketing or are marketing professionals themselves. This allows The Economist to put only the most relevant media in front of online viewers and increases the odds of multiple downloads. He says that these apps don’t drive significant revenue to the brand, but they have the potential to evolve into something truly unique moving forward.

Brafton similarly advocates that clients categorize content according to easy-to-archive topics, with CTAs on any related page that encourage readers to read (and engage) more. Our strategists work with individual websites to develop “related content” call-to-actions with other hyper-relevant, more ransactional CTAs. This increases the chances that a brand is regarded as a resource on a specific subject to earn trust and leads. (Check out our full list of tips on adding the right CTAs to a content mix.)

Ted Karczewski is an Executive Communications Associate at Brafton. He works to develop his own voice and apply his passions to the evolving world of SEO and content marketing, but he doesn't shy away from writing for fun. After graduating from Suffolk University, Ted used his Communications degree to test out Sports Journalism before Marketing at Brafton.