Recirculation: How to Increase Lifetime Value and Revenue 

    Last updated: July 14, 2023

    With subscriber acquisition costs on the rise, optimizing for recirculation is way more effective (and usually, easier) than continually chasing new readers. But if you’re already struggling to get people on your site, recirculation might seem like an impossible pipe dream.  

    In this post, we’ll explain why recirculation is such an important KPI for publishers, then present actionable ways to improve your own recirculation rates.   

    Why is recirculation such an important KPI?  

    Recirculation is the percentage of website visitors who go on to click another link during the same session. You can use recirculation to make a lot of conclusions about your content, like your website design and performance, content selection and quality, targeting efforts, etc.   

    Master subscription models: 9 Proven tactics to skyrocket retention & revenue:

    In layman’s terms, your recirculation rate tells you how bingeable your content is.   

    It’s not hard to imagine why you want to maximize recirculation: When people are on site longer, they encounter more of your content, interact with more ads and tend to be more engaged for the long term. That leads to increased word of mouth, brand loyalty and lifetime value — every audience manager’s dream.  

    Recirculation also generates revenue, as longer site visits and more page views help you attract more ad dollars and sponsorships down the road.   

    How can I improve my recirculation rates?  

    No matter what your numbers are looking like, you always want to get more people on site — and keep them there longer. Below, we’re walking through a few key ways to increase engagement and recirculation of your content.  

    Recommended Related Content 

    We’ve all been there: You sit down to watch a single episode of your favorite new series. 8 hours later, you emerge from your trance to realize you’ve watched an entire season of Breaking Bad, your laundry’s not getting done today and you’re ordering take out tonight.  

    Streaming services are uniquely good at recognizing someone’s interest and capitalizing, whether by auto-playing the next episode five seconds after the previous one finishes or by providing hyper-personalized recommendations.  

    Applying this to your digital content can help you improve recirculation (even if you’re not winning Emmys anytime soon).  

    One of the best ways to do this is through Content Recommendations. These are widgets within an article that contain links to related posts, podcasts, etc. (On Omeda, these can appear within the styling of the post itself or along the side panel, so you can tweak it to your audience’s needs.)  

    So far, 18% of website visitors who click an Omeda Content Recommendation module go on to read 2 or more articles in the same session. That’s enough to establish your credibility within the topic and also entice someone to sign up for your newsletter.  

    Encourage Repeat Traffic With Newsletters 

    There are two main ways to increase recirculation: Optimize the content itself or improve your distribution strategy. The latter is becoming increasingly important as organic social becomes less profitable and algorithms get more opaque.   

    If you’re depending solely on social media to get your content in front of the right people… good luck. And unless you’re a legacy news brand, you can’t expect your audience to seek you out on your website.   

    So how can you stay top of mind? Newsletters.  

    With newsletters, you can reach your audience somewhere you know they’re checking multiple times per day — and get more repeat traffic to your website. Better yet, you can segment your audience so your outreach is tailored to people with different job titles, interests, etc.. 

    Better yet, email gives you hyper-granular success metrics — besides open, click and click-through rates, you can also use heat maps to see where people click most often, A/B test subject lines and CTA messages, etc. Use these insights to see which topics resonate with which audience members and further improve your recirculation rates.  

    But for all their advantages, newsletters aren’t a silver buillet. If you spam your audience, or your communications aren’t relevant for everyone, you’ll turn readers away rather than gaining website traffic.  

    Spark engagement without losing subscribers with these best practices:    

    • Create different newsletters for different verticals (if you have the bandwidth): At the bottom of each article, include a link to subscribe to the related vertical newsletter. This encourages your readers to keep interacting with you and your content for the long term.  
    • Segment your audience: Rather than sending one newsletter to your entire audience, send more streamlined, topic-based newsletters to smaller groups within your audience. This keeps your engagement numbers high and ensures that everyone is getting the content that’s most relevant for them. (To create really specific interest-based segments, use your CDP or website analytics solution to see what kinds of articles each person reads, then promote related newsletters to them via on-page personalizations.)  
    • Don’t overwhelm your subscribers. Blasting your readers with irrelevant content doesn’t just hurt your metrics. It annoys your audience, harms your reputation and even your deliverability, which threatens the long-term health of your sending domain. Default to sending emails less frequently (or send them to smaller subsets of your audience) until you’ve established a strong connection with your audience. 

    Complement print articles with visual and multimedia content 

    As a publisher, you’re competing against your audience’s schedules and fractured attention spans to get them on your site. So if your content is too cognitively demanding, they’re probably not giving it much thought, let alone coming back for more.  

    If recirculation is your main KPI, consider complementing your print with visuals. Because the human brain processes visuals 600,000 times faster than it does text, this alone helps people absorb your information more quickly and remember you after the fact.   

    To get started, include related infographics or illustrations within articles or create standalone videos, interviews and explainers. While this requires an initial creative lift, it will pay off in the form of repeat visitors and subscribers over time.  

    Encourage engagement with quizzes and surveys 

    Back in 2012, Buzzfeed’s online quizzes took over the Internet. If you were between 13 and 30, you couldn’t get on Facebook without seeing your friends share what city they should live in or which Saved by the Bell character they were, according to Buzzfeed. (Take it from someone who started in college in 2012: It was a Big Deal.)   

    Even well past their peak in 2022, their quizzes got 1.1 billion views worldwide.  

    Buzzfeed achieved the kind of virality that audience managers can only dream of — all through punchy, low-brow quizzes.  

    So what makes the quiz format so appealing — and addictive? Quizzes invite people to actively engage, rather than passively reading or watching it. People can interact with your brand in real time, which turns the process of reading your content into a full sensory experience.  

    When you’re competing against the entire Internet for viewers, that’s what will make your brand stand out.  

    Looking for quiz ideas? The best quizzes help readers do one (or more) of the following:  

    • Explore their interest  
    • Test their subject knowledge  
    • Learn more about themselves  
    • Share something interesting or unexpected with their friends   

    Personalize your content

    If you’re able to give each visitor exactly what they want, based on their previous interactions with you, they’re more likely to come back for more. Seems obvious in theory, but personalization is really hard to achieve in practice.  

    It’s especially difficult when your audience data is scattered across your social media platforms, email tool, website and subscription tool, etc. Siloed data gives you an incomplete, fragmented view of each audience member, making it exponentially harder to predict what they want from you.  

    The solution? Use a CDP to collect audience data from every touchpoint into one central location. Once it’s collected, it’s cleaned, standardized and cleared of duplicates so that you have the most complete, current picture of each website visitor.  

    With this intel, you can provide personalized content recommendations or target specific personalizations and ads to each visitor based on their previous browsing and purchase history.  

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