- Ad Integrations
- Content/Data Migration
- External APIs
- Interface Design
Increasing Reader Revenue While Revitalizing The Saturday Evening Post
For nearly 200 years, The Saturday Evening Post has chronicled American history in the making — reflecting the distinctive characteristics and values that define the American way. With a focus on good storytelling, fiction, art, humor, and history, today, it publishes a print magazine and is also vastly expanding its online offerings to include videos, podcasts, and the complete magazine archive.
In looking to the future, the team at The Saturday Evening Post knew they needed a website redesign that delivers a premium digital experience—one that lives up to the iconic brand’s historical legacy and modern style while increasing earning potential. Deep experience and a proven track record in helping publishers navigate the digital space, streamline publishing workflows, improve audience engagement, and increase online revenue made 10up the perfect partner.
Increasing Reader Revenue
Even the most complex project starts with a simple question: “What is the primary business goal?” To help The Saturday Evening Post achieve the objective of increasing reader revenue, 10up delivered a comprehensive, strategic website redesign that leveraged our audience and revenue, user experience, design, and engineering teams.
During discovery, 10up collaborated closely with The Saturday Evening Post team to gain a thorough understanding of the brand asset inventory, including incredible physical properties such as original prints of Norman Rockwell paintings and the elaborate card cataloging system used to keep thousands of archival materials organized. The user experience design and engineering teams then documented the publication’s content and databases to define the information architecture, data integration points, and technical structure of the new site.
Concurrently, 10up’s audience and revenue strategists worked with The Saturday Evening Post circulation teams to review the existing revenue streams and subscription models and identify new reader revenue opportunities. It became clear the publication needed to move beyond the historical paradigm of magazine subscriptions and implement strategies to:
- Move from a subscriber revenue to a membership revenue model;
- Leverage content and improved design to create additional value;
- Upgrade the data structure and third-party integration points to create an improved digital experience.
With both teams aligned on the direction and an extensive digital architecture in place, 10up began reimagining a whole new digital experience for The Saturday Evening Post editorial team and their subscribing members.
Content monetization challenges drive many publishers to simply add a paywall after a specific number of visits or increase the number of ads displayed, but that approach isn’t always the best answer, especially when cultivating a specific brand experience and growing a membership revenue model.
To ensure membership subscriptions flow seamlessly, 10up’s engineering team vetted and customized an e-commerce solution, the audience and revenue team consulted on pricing, bundling, and the promotion of packages, while the user experience design team provided critical design recommendations and insights on call to action (CTA) placement.
To better monetize relationships with underwriters and align the revenue strategy with the publication’s values, 10up moved The Saturday Evening Post away from a transactional approach and distracting banner ads to tailored sponsorships and thoughtful segmentation. Audience extension was then used to serve off-site banner ads to the same audience across the web.
Highlighting Meaningful Content
Through a content audit, 10up identified access to The Saturday Evening Post archives as an opportunity to provide additional online value for members. Surfacing this rich trove of content required a seamless sign-up process and a beautiful way to search and interact with the content.
One priority for the editorial team was the ability to display digitized collections and curate landing pages to highlight specific content and feature announcements. To simplify the editorial process, 10up created the ability to easily insert a post into a content block and leverage a robust taxonomy to show dynamic content based on a particular term.
Custom content curation tools were also added for the homepage, which has a similar mix of dynamic content, such as the latest issue, as well as curated content, like the Editor’s Choice content block.
Storytelling Through Design
Having published some of the most iconic art and artists in American history, The Saturday Evening Post boasts an abundant collection of legacy art and new creations. The 10up design team was inspired by visual elements of the 20th-century covers and subtle cues from the publication’s history provided exciting possibilities for digital composition.
The iconic logo and double line from the original masthead are kept central to ensure the digital brand parallels the print magazine and the clean, modern design gives imagery and text room to breathe, provides flexible content blocks to boost engagement, and highlights enticing calls to action. The new, high-contrast design focuses on a premium reading experience with large type, minimal distractions, and responsive design so it renders beautifully on devices of all sizes.
10up’s dedication to The Saturday Evening Post’s history, visual aptitude, and unique point of view were extended throughout the site, including the 404 page.
Integrating Machine Learning and eCommerce
While 10up’s engineers completed third-party systems integrations, the user experience team identified and mapped content, creating a complex taxonomy structure that included content classifications such as theme, categories, keywords, artist names, and template types, among others.
Thousands of content pieces (~900 GB of disk space) needed to be migrated to the new site architecture and design, but first, a considerable amount of existing content needed restructuring and tagging. This provided an exciting opportunity to automate the content classification and tagging process with machine learning technology.
10up leveraged IBM Watson’s Natural Language Understanding (NLU) to automatically categorize and tag The Saturday Evening Post’s content. The NLU API can classify both HTML and text content, but manually stripping tags and sending plain text to Watson almost always yielded better results. This standardized classification of digital ad content into IAB categories, filled gaps in existing tags, and created a useful resource for naming consistency.
The new website also features an improved purchasing experience. Where the previous site sold merchandise such as limited edition specials through a separate website, ShopThePost.com, the new design includes the online store using WooCommerce, the leading open-source e-commerce solution for WordPress. The e-commerce build included a custom integration with circulation partners Palm Coast Data for existing print subscriptions and new subscription fulfillment.
With highly experienced audience and revenue, user experience, design, and engineering teams working together, 10up helps its clients like The Saturday Evening Post reimagine their digital brand experience, architect creative, performance-driven solutions, and achieve their biggest business goals.
When comparing months year over year, the new site for The Saturday Evening Post is enjoying more than double the reader revenue and online membership subscription revenue.
There are also significant gains in audience size and engagement, especially when evaluating mobile traffic. Loyal readers, who are most likely to become members, have grown by 40% and are consuming nearly double the amount of content (measured as page views).
The trust built with The Saturday Evening Post has allowed 10up to continue to grow the relationship. The partnership didn’t begin with trendy designs and one-size fits all revenue strategies. It began with the core business goals and provided a solution that will carry the brand forward. Today, 10up continues to report on business performance and provide feature enhancements that optimize the visitor and member experience for subscribers so The Saturday Evening Post can continue into its third century.
Since the early 1800s, The Saturday Evening Post has told America’s story in real time. 10up is honored to be the trusted digital partner in the publication’s online expansion and website reinvestment as it continues to reflect on the narratives that make our country what it is today. To discuss how 10up can help achieve your digital goals, contact us or check out ClassifAI, our free, open-source plugin that leverages leading cloud-based services like IBM Watson and Microsoft Azure AI to augment WordPress-powered websites with Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning technology.