Welcoming New Users: How to Leverage Recommendations in Media and Publishing

As a consumer, when we start our journey with a new brand the entire experience can be a little overwhelming — especially when that brand has a vast catalog of content to sift through. This is a challenge especially for media and publishing companies that are not only attempting to welcome new users to their brand, but also nudging them towards engaging with content that can take minutes or hours to consume.

One way to ease customers into such hefty content catalogs is to use personalized recommendations. In fact, emails that leverage predictive recommendations see a +209% conversion rate. As the user-brand relationship deepens and you get more data on each user, predictive recommendations should be the gold standard you aim towards. Early on, this might not be feasible, but there are easy ways to implement super effective recommendation strategies within your new user journeys — and here’s how.

Top recommendation themes to leverage for new users

When you have limited user data, we suggest recommending content that’s popular or trending among existing users. You can further narrow down popular content by region, category, or stated preferences — then, as you gain user-level data, you can start tailoring recommendations to their interests.

The key to starting off the user experience right is using the correct recommendation themes within your marketing and user experience. AI-powered recommender systems assist you in connecting users with relevant content based on their individual interests, including stated preferences, inferred affinities, and media consumption behaviors — but these systems don’t run on autopilot, they need the correct theme applied to tailor recommendations based on where a user is in their journey. Here are a few themes that are successful for New Users:

  • Most Popular & Tending: Suggest the most viewed, liked, or shared articles, videos, shows, podcasts, or other content from the last day, week, month, etc. Content can be specific to a location, category affinities, or preferences.
  • Free Preview: Provide limited free access to premium content for lower subscription tier members. Content can be specific to a location, category affinities, package, or stated preferences.
  • Recent Content: New, fresh content is perceived to be more desirable. Highlight the latest content from the day, week, month, etc. Content can be specific to a location, category affinities, or stated preferences.
  • Expiring Content: Create urgency and play up FOMO (fear of missing out) by highlighting content that will no longer be available soon, either to everyone or based on their subscription.
  • Upcoming Releases: Pique their interest by providing users with a preview of the content they’ll soon have access to. This can be specific to a location, category affinities, or subscription type.
  • Seasonal Content: Be topical and drive immediate engagement by showcasing seasonal or time-bound content. Content can be specific to a location, category affinities, or stated preferences.

Recommendation Tip: Capture new user’s attention fast by highlighting popular as well as trending content.

How to apply themes throughout the user experience

Any of these themes are easy to apply within a multi-touch Welcome Series and can be used across email, onsite, in-app, streaming devices, mobile push, and SMS (and more). The goal is to hook users and keep engagement strong with a steady stream of relevant recommendations that highlight the richness of your brand’s content while maintaining relevance to each user’s interests.

Stuck on just one theme to use? Don’t worry, you don’t have to pick just one theme in your series, or even within a single message. You can include multiple or all the themes within a message to help increase the chances of surfacing the most relevant content. A/B test which theme or combination of themes works best for your needs. Then, when new users start browsing and engaging with content, your recommender system can start using that data to understand their content interests and media habits.

Once you have a more established relationship with your users and you’ve collected enough data, you can now move onto Predictive Recommendations (while still occasionally leveraging trend-driven recommendation themes along the user journey.)

Recommendation Tip: Use multiple recommendation themes within a message to help increase the chances new users discover the right content for them.

More about our Smart Guide to Recommendations: Media and Publishing

This is just a small part of the information, tips, and tricks we offer within our Smart Guide to Recommendations: Media and Publishing. In this guide, we will cover all the best content recommendation themes, how to select the right ones throughout your user journey, and best practices to add relevance across every interaction with your brand. You can access the full guide, available now.

If you’re interested in continuing your learning beyond recommendations, you can discover our full library of Smart Guides here, and be sure to check out some of our companion courses on Blueshift Academy.

DOWNLOAD THE SMART GUIDE TO RECOMMENDATIONS: MEDIA AND PUBLISHING

Learn about different content recommendation themes, how to select the right ones throughout your user journey, and best practices to add relevance across every interaction with your brand.

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