HuffPo Fmr Product Head on Product Design (Part 3)

As news organizations have shifted their focus toward online content, the industry has refined its overall product design around new forms of advertising. While advertising remains our biggest revenue stream, we need to be more creative with methods for displaying ads within our content. Furthermore, it’s important for us to solve advertiser challenges as much as it is to engage with new users. In the end, we need to make advertising opportunities for attractive for our partners.

For example, viewability is the primary metric that advertisers use to gauge the success of an ad. In other words, it points to whether or not users have seen an ad. One solution that we developed at Bloomberg is to use motion in displaying ad content. Instead of disappearing entirely from view, the ad starts as a video and then subtly moves over to the side as a static image. As a result, users don’t breeze by the ad and its overall viewability increases.

Consumer pay for online content has become a vital source of revenue from our readers. The challenge is leveraging trial periods to bring people in and then drive conversion to activate subscriptions. At The Washington Post, we developed a pre-installed Kindle Fire app that gave users six months of free access. Then, you would be asked to pay $1 for another six months. In the end, you’re only paying $1 for a full year of content. After the one year mark, the rate increased to $3.99 per month.

While we made it easy to get started, we had to develop a campaign within the app to get people signed up as subscribers. With this, we added little reminders into the experience and small callouts in between articles about the trial coming to an end. In addition, a countdown clock would show up when your trial had seven days or less remaining. As a result, we drove 12 percent conversion for subscriptions.

In the end, driving revenue needs to be a primary focus for every news organization. However, new revenue streams also present product design opportunities to enhance the user experience.


Click here for Part 1

Click here for Part 2

About the speaker
Julia Beizer Bloomberg, Chief Product Officer Member

Julia Beizer is the Chief Product Officer at Bloomberg media, shaping the organization’s consumer-facing experiences across all platforms and devices. Prior to taking on this role, she was head of product, design, and engineering for HuffPost. Before that, she spent a decade at The Washington Post, working on both the news and product sides of the company. She currently serves on the board of Questback, an insights company, and Boolean Girl, a nonprofit that teaches girls how to code.