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6 Product Heroes Leading Their Way In The Publisher Industry

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6 Product Heroes Leading Their Way In The Publisher Industry

It requires maddening discipline, consistency, rigor and a dash of empathy to lead a team forward and take a brand to different heights. We interviewed 6 such Product leaders who have done a lot of heavy lifting to make a dent in the publishing ecosystem. Read on to get a peek into the inside knowledge, know what goes on inside the head of theirs and get inspired by these amazing personalities. 

These are desperate times. With the Corona pandemic, circling through our heads like a hungry vulture, everyone is left clueless. No one saw this coming. And in so many ways it encapsulates the struggles that product leaders have to face in the ever-changing publisher’s ecosystem. Every day is a new day, you never know what to expect, what changes Google or Facebook has in store for you or when they are going to open Pandora's box.

Here are 6 product leaders who have risen above the challenges and made a mark in the publishing industry-

Sahil-1sonkshiTejas-1Vignesh-1SengwaiSwami

6 Product Leaders Spill The Beans

To get a sneak peek of the behind the scenes, how they fight the everyday challenges and what goes into building a team and what goes on to motivating them to achieve a common goal, we asked these 6 product leaders a few questions. Read on to know how they function, what their average day looks like, what do they consider as villains for the publishing business and more -  

Ques-1

Not every day is the same, especially when you are in the publishing business. But to get a gist of what an average day looks like, these 6 PMs have narrated what they do on a daily basis, without fail. 

SAHIL
  • An average day starts around 10-10:30 , every morning. Every morning we meet for the status of each item, which is a quick 15 min briefing. We have scrum meetings, where we lock sprints of 15 days. We discuss with the Tech Team the items to be delivered. 
  • With the Editorial team, we have 1 or 2 meetings every 15 days, to understand when they need support. They also share insight into what they plan to do. It helps understand their perspective to support their features. 
  • As a routine, I go through the number of the previous day by checking Google Analytics and the Play Store. My area of experience is Apps, and I make sure everything is on track.
  • We brainstorm for key metrics like Page per session. Lately, we have launched an e-paper to increase our subscriptions. We make sure that every customer is retained well. We try to deliver more out of user expectations and keep our ears open for complaints. Complaints come with user insights, so we dig a little deeper and see where it is coming from; hit the sweet spot between all the expectations. 
  • Once you hit the marketplace product goes through adjustments. And this is something that I can't know sitting inside the office.

    Sonakshi
  • The newsdesk begins their day at 7 AM. Unless support is required for special events or any unusual disruption, product managers start at 09:30-10:00 AM.
  • We start our day with scrum meetings, which goes on for 2 or 3 hours with teams across 13 languages. We use Jira to allocate tasks in the sprint, allocation of engineering, fix priority of product and so on.
  • The second half goes for interaction, meeting, feedback - design or something in the pipeline, discussion, making a wireframe, which requires personal time.
  • We spend the end of the day for deployments.

Tejas
  • Going through all the publications that are put out, on both Vernacular and English news platforms.
  • Our news team sends out our daily news bulletins for our metro cities that we notify via web notification. We have segmented our users and we send out our notifications to the specific user base, so that the most relevant news reaches our user.
  • Apart from that all the big news updates go to everyone.
  • We have seen stable and sustainable growth with web notifications, this has helped us to get the user to our web site directly.
  • Then rest of the day, check out the trends, follow platforms and keep monitoring the traffic.

Vignesh

  • The day starts off with morning aggregation - Going through all the publications that are put out, both Vernacular and English news
  • We only focus on the south and we aggregate content that happens in the morning. Basically all the stories you may have missed. So that the user can get all the information from the south, irrespective of who has reported it.
  •  In the morning generally, we do not send out notifications until unless we have put our own story.
  • We then have a desk meeting story ideas discussed by reporters from different cities and states. The editor clears what is to be done and starts working on it. This is where the notification platform becomes important.
  • We have done a lot of segmentation based on cities, states, subsections, entertainment, business and so on, and we send 6-7 notifications a day. Out of 6-7 notifications we send, 3 goes out to the entire audience, the rest of it is in separate segments.
  • In between the desk handles any kind of breaking news. Takes input from different people on the ground
  • We stop publishing around 8 PM. The last story comes by 7, it is then edited and pushed.

    Sewayi-paisamm
  • We have a fixed routine. There are cross-departmental meetings in the morning. Because I am more to the operations side, it’s mostly around programmatic ads and designing ad formats for direct sales.

- Seng Wai Lye - Oriental daily


swaminathan
  • The first thing to understand is ours is a publishing industry, it's not an out and out product company so to say. We try to keep a certain product and project management aspects in space.
  • Typically we work in an agile environment, which means we need to develop things to deliver new product launches as fast as possible.
  • It involves daily stand-ups and an overall look at the progress of the sprints, which runs for 2 weeks. The status of work in progress, obstacles to be resolved, coordinating with various stakeholders - could be internal rates, sales, marketing editorial, or external stakeholders - partnering with external companies that provide tools and services are discussed. 
  • We also have a look at the way the work is progressing, if we are on track to deliver things on time as planned. We keep tabs on the backlog as well, which is required to be groomed, mainly for prioritization. 
  • Probably the last would be reading emails. Focus more on these aspects, emails come in later where you actually start communication. 

Ques-2

They say you are what you read. These 6 have their own favorite hangout spots where they head to, to engage, keep themselves updated and informed. 

SAHIL

  • Books and Kindle - Where I usually read about user discovery interviews
  • Favorite book - The Mom test, love the part where it talks about interviewing users on how to uncover compelling insights.

Sonakshi
  • I start my day with fixed tabs on Chrome - competition websites, what are they up to in the morning, Google Analytics and Jira 
  • I keep tabs on the launch of a new product on Product Hunt, any major discussion on tech or policy.

Tejas
  • Google forums, Google updates, Matt Cutts on Twitter, he rolls about important information about SEO and organic changes. 
  • Get updates on email. Since we are news publisher partners at Google, we get an email whenever there is a big publisher update. 
  • I am always in touch with the partners associated with us so that we are all in a loop.

Sewayi-paisamm
  • I do not particularly follow any blog, I just read what Google suggests. That’s how the current news is going. 
  • Most information comes from Facebook.
  • I follow TechCrunch and read about business and technology, and also marketing-interactive for digital media news. 
  • I am using a Google phone, so the Google plugin provides me the news that’s tailored for me. 

swaminathan

  • To get the product perspective and product management best practices I usually hang out on medium.com. That is a go-to website to read a lot about product management, where a lot of PMs share experience and stories on how they deal with certain things. 
  • Mind the Product - product reading resource 
  • Product Hunt - A fair amount of understanding of what products are coming in the market- mainly startups or a developer coming up with cool products. Maybe it works or integrates well with our product. Always good to know about the new products coming into the market. 
  • Linkedin and Twitter- I am part of 3-4 different product groups. It helps a lot to learn from their experience. 
  • Google webmaster blogs for publisher-specific reading. Helps in getting updated about my own industry
  • Blog.google- where their team updates about their products and services. 
  • Search Engine Watch and Search Engine Island - for reading material on search engines, SEO and so on. A lot of traffic comes from Google search. So I need to be on top of the ranking on how Google search works, SEO and so on.
  • Digiday.com for publishers related stories
  • Google news initiative for publishers - updates about how other publishers adapt to changes and so on. Where the publisher industry is heading.
  • Look at Google product launches. 
  • Digital ads - Google tag managers, AdSense, Programmatic ads, to improve ad revenue.
    Research on 3rd party products that can be plugged into CMS. Enhance UX and so on.

Ques-3

These product leaders share their thoughts being a trendsetter vs contributing to the trending. A tough call to take. What have they chosen and why?

Sonakshi

  • We consistently lead when it comes to vernacular news. We vigorously track trends and updates through dedicated analytics and SEO teams.. It takes discipline to stay on top of general news. 
  • The editorial team is digital savvy with lean operations. It helps us get complex features like the detailed inhouse COVID trackers online with minimal delay. 
  • Our extensive news network and ground presence helps manage the largest first-party election display and analytics too.

Tejas

  • A mix of both. Content needs to connect your users then only it becomes a trend. We have also started off with UGC where readers start a topic and people make it a trend. People sent videos and contributed to the story.

Ques-4

Businesses are kind of handicapped without the right tools at disposal. Tools help in running things smoothly, automate your day to day work and bring one closer to the goal. Here are the tools that they make use of- 

SAHIL

  • WordPress on the backend - CMS as well. 
  • Designing team - Sketch and Zeplin
  • Balsamiq- for wireframing 
  • Google Analytics, Clevertap, Play Store
  • AppAnnie - Keywords for other apps 
  • SimilarWeb for competitor analysis.

 

What’s your favorite tool and why?

SimilarWeb, to form a web perspective and, AppAnnie


Sonakshi
  • Balsamiq for studying user behavior, mouse over tools.
  • Parse.ly, Chartbeat (had taken trial and paid version). But after cost vs return calculation, now rely on the basic and solid tool - Google 360, for which we have a Premium subscription. 
  • Adobe IO - Basic user or real-time analytics 
  • Mailchimp has become hygiene. It is editorially driven. 
  • Action inducing data provided on Google Analytics. Make use of events extensively at a granular level.
  • Similar web, Comscore- The Idea is to read data and get actionable insights. 
  • iZooto- Pushing ads to cost-benefit analysis there.

What’s your favorite tool and why?

  • Google Analytics hands down. I have burnt my hands with fancier tools but actionable insights are no different than GA.

Tejas

  • The editorial team makes use of graphics a lot since almost every story demands visuals. Since there are around 40-80 stories a day it becomes difficult. So we use Canva, Info.gr, Piktochart, and Flourish 
  • Zeplin for designing. 

What’s your favorite tool and why?

  • I like Google Analytics because content holistically
  • Webmaster for our organic performance
  • And Google Pagespeed Insights to monitor website performance. 
  • And editorially Canva for cards Info.gr - easier to tell a story prominently, easy for users to share on social, set up excel sheet and upload dates, different styles available, and the graph is interactive.
  • We also use Flourish

Sewayi-paisamm
  • We get our data from multiple platforms. Because some news has high CTRs whereas, for some, fewer people bother. I fetch the report from iZooto and Google Analytics and then consolidate and make recommendations. 

Favorite Tool

  • I like Google Analytics because it tells us what section of the content are users consuming. 
  • Of course, Google Ad Manager has many metrics that are available for us on both display and video advertisement, that could provide us insights on what we need to improve.

swaminathan

  • Jira for product and project management, ticket management and backlog 
  • We have taken the Google G Suite. We mainly make use of this for collaborations and productivity. We communicate on Google chat. We use the drive - docs. We have the paid version of GA
  • SilverPop - to track the number of newsletters sent
  • Crazyegg - for heatmap tracking tool
  • Google tag manager, Google optimize 

Favorite

GA, since it helps us understand Google traffic, taking of audience is coming, geolocation, what device and so on.


Ques-5

The publishers' business is fast-paced. There is pressure to be the first to report a piece of news, which also means that one needs to be agile and quick to process and translate everything into action.  See how these product leaders maintain their cool.

Sonakshi
  • Central tool CMS. A story is fired every half a minute. Taken care of by the infrastructure we have behind. 
  • The editor needs to keep the website updated in a basic sense of DIY. 
  • Every tool available on the CMS, if a special event comes tomorrow, they have predeveloped moduled available, can be deployed in short notice and get content together. 
  • During the general election, we start preparing well in advance (3 months) 
  • In case of events, we own our own new channel, always use live TV, embed it and take it anywhere. 

Ques-6

What is it that these champions have in their to do list for 2020? Get a sneak peak into their plans and what they would strive for.

SAHIL

  • Establish a robust and predictable revenue pipeline. 
  • Currently the majority of traffic is driven by google and we have more new users than repeat users every month. We are trying to increase the bucket of returning users and try to profile them well for better targeted ad sales. 
  • Have to find a niche audience and cater to them irrespective of Google being or not.  Subscriptions pipeline for the business to start experimenting and from.
  • Differentiated products like ET prime.

Sonakshi
  • Balancing user experience with revenue
  • Enough and more advertising options to monetize the scale that we have. However, that has its own challenges with display and page speed - Every other script that you add whether partner reading traffic data and suggesting a related article or recirculation with Outbrain. 
  • The kind of partnership we would evaluate now compared to earlier ones has increased. Revenue element part of every conversation. This would follow for next year as well. 

Tejas

  • Start off with Podcasts. It ensures longer shelf life than other content. Publishers do not take podcasts seriously. People sometimes separate audio from video and publish. Make sure to be podcast first just like video first. 
  • Personalized experience to users. The content and the web app need to get personalized. 
  • More original content especially for the users with a membership.

Vignesh

  • From a company perspective, working on a product especially for NRIs
  • A community-built membership model which we plan to take live with phase 1 in April and roll out in June.
  • As for the Editorial team, they are trying to see if we can set up regular shows with reporters, we have started entertainment shows, we are looking at different programs such as these, but predominantly with video and audio.

Sewayi-paisamm
  • From this year on, Oriental Daily will try to provide more videos to different publications and different audience groups. We want to retain our current audience and attract more subscribers.

swaminathan

  • The publishing world is changing a lot, the dynamics are changing, and it is important to create a brand identity. Newsweek has a unique brand identity, associated with the brand. 
  • This year we will focus on multiple areas- Editorial for quality content is one, to start with.  We already have a subscription model in place, weekly print magazine and at some point, we want to put a paywall and encourage users to subscribe. It is important to create quality content, or people will end up reading elsewhere.
  • We want to provide users with an Ad-free experience.
  • We want to move to a subscription model with 3 to 5 free articles and ask users to subscribe to access more content, which we need to evaluate in 2020.

Ques-7

Everyone strives to bring in traffic. While it is a piece of cake for established  publishers, the success lies in retaining the users that visit. Product leaders reveal their mantra to make users stay. 

SAHIL

  • Huge amount of our users as with every other publisher comes from side-door access points i.e AMP, Facebook, Twitter etc. The brand loyalty of these users is questionable and it's imperative for every publisher to have product hooks and get an additional access point to them.
  • The only way left in the long term is to put a lot of hooks onto the page so that we can reach out to users i.e Web Push Notifications (iZooto), Newsletters, App, Installs.

Sonakshi

  •  Improve brand recall for loyal users via our massive television presence
  • Drive daily traffic via relentless chase of google trends
  • Be present on all new platforms like Helo and Tiktok
  • We try to experiment a lot with syndication and new platforms like connected TV

Sewayi-paisamm

  • Nowadays most media are data-centric. We will continue digging data from different publications so we can segment better. 
  • We are data-centric and for us the main platform is Facebook. We keep extracting data from Facebook.
  • We are A/B testing videos with audience segmentation. We try to understand which video is getting more likes/comments and what kind of comments are being posted.

swaminathan

  • It is a challenging scenario, to retain the users. Mainly the user behavior changes over the years because on one side we have loyal customers or subscribers who keep coming back, there are a lot of people coming from Google search from twitter, Facebook read the news and leave. 
  • To retain the audience for us it is important to break news fast, product quality and original content be on top of the SEO game. 
  • 70% of the audience comes from Google search. As a company, we need to make sure we break news faster to be at the top of the news results. Thus we generate new interest, breaking news faster than our competitors. 
  • Some factors depend on the editorial team as well if they require specific requirements. Are there enough features in place to pull in the audience? Important to understand audience behavior, what they need, how to retain them. 
  • We need to be in constant watch to solve their problems, solve them, and retain the audience when they bounce off.
  • Technical aspects like website performance and  website speed needs to be taken into consideration. Especially when people are searching for news and if content keeps loading, they will bounce out, move out to the next source where the content loads faster. 

Ques-8

It’s a common perception that both editorial and the sales team are usually not on good terms since they are fighting for the same real estate. How true is this? Know what product leaders are doing to make sure everyone is on the same page.

SAHIL

  • The role of the product in the media is a challenging role, the product is to take care of product core metrics, user interests, stakeholder management which involves both sales and editorial.
  • Product should identify a path to sales through content initiatives with editorial teams because content is the primary need of the user. Ads is the way we earn but how we show ads is also important, ads should compliment users experience and not be an irritant. 
  • If a ball lies in grey areas. If it is not anyone's work, by default it is the PM's job. 

Sonakshi

  • Business heads set expectations really well beforehand in major quarterly meetings or CXO meetings. Our editors understand the market pressures we face.
  • Any deal value is evaluated by revenue generated and possible disruptions. Communicating pros & cons helps make informed decisions.
  • We set context with data for fruitful discussions.
  • We focus a lot on native content for brands with 2-3 IPs running simultaneously. It brings value to both advertisers and us without intrusive ads.

Tejas

  • We focus a lot on sponsored content and ads. On mobile there is  limited real estate for popup and sliders. So if a person is not going to read the story, he won’t be there for the ad as well. 
  • The requirements are different from every deal that comes across, balancing it for the users, and the content at which the ad is served is our responsibility. 
  • We give them an achievable number and a time frame of what they want us to achieve. Use of more-overlay ads. 

Managing teams - 

  • Regular meetings every week- every decision is taken with the editorial, marketing, and product representative, so that no one is missed out and no one is taken for granted.
  • If a new requirement arises mid-week most of us around and on calls, the Bangalore team is on backup plans. 
  • We meet at alternative days to look at progress at every point.

Ques-9

Over the years, a lot of things have changed. It's not just ads that improve revenue. But do publishers depend on ads for their main source of revenue? Or are they looking at different options?

SAHIL

  • Online Media was always on advertising as a revenue stream but with the boom of the mobile devices market and JIO impact the inventory has just grown tremendously. Growth in inventory has led to drop in CPMs and with social media now being a big hit amongst youngsters, media houses have woken to the reality that advertising can be one of the revenue streams and not the only revenue stream.
  • Several media houses are now experimenting with subscriptions models i.e ET Prime, The Ken, E-paper Subscriptions of The Indian Express and The Hindu, Adfree of Network 18 etc. It's early days but surely now the focus is to move towards subscription business.

Sonakshi

  • Business teams and their challenges have sensitized us to market realities. Approach differs product to product.
  • I would love to have a clean site, but when you put pen to paper, you really can’t run a scaled general news product without advertising.
  • Pro ad outlook – There’s always a right way to integrate the right ad. Good engineering can mitigate everything from bad display to bad JS.
  • We also work with subscription models based on product fit.

Tejas

  • It is return-oriented, compared to legend media. The online world is challenging. Segregation, hands full with ads real-estate, returns are direct

Sewayi-paisamm
  • Basically, if we have good branding (bigger brands or advertising companies), we will have higher revenue. Some publications that have tried this in Malaysia have found it hard. 
  • Paywalls might not be a good option for Malaysia.
  • SengWai Lye, Oriental Daily


swaminathan

  • Primary source, very important review stream, over the years, increasing in traffic lower CPM complexity in programmatic ads is a challenge, we keep exploring, subscription channel as a revenue stream, another aspect is sponsored content, not necessarily ads but collaborate with their partners with other, we tie-up with schools universities, lot of ranking projects (top hospitals, consumer products and so on) ad continues to be a primary source.
  • We also have 3rd party comment tools that we display ads and also collaborate with for ads.

Ques-10

Revenue is one thing publishers want to double down on. Product leaders are always experimenting and trying new ways to improve revenue. See what they are trying out or what they are dependent on to boost revenue.

SAHIL

  • Advertising. Planning to diversify  e-paper subscriptions

Sonakshi

  • Direct branding, programmatic bidding, offline events, brand partnership and syndication. Content for free has taken a backseat. 

Tejas

  • Partnerships, marketing partnership, ads, membership model, contribution model where people can suggest
  • Now we have started off with a subscription model which is an ad-free version, ready to pay on a monthly basis.

Sewayi-paisamm
  • Particularly we rely on offline newspapers and online distribution. We are now focusing on online. Advertising remains our main focus for online revenue.

Ques-11

There are a lot of solutions out there for the product leaders to give a shot. Over the years, a lot of solutions become a part of their daily lives. Here are their thoughts about a few channels-

SAHIL

  • App notifications - best way to notify users - 60% page views from 1% of users. 
  • Email - not a big fan of email
  • SMS - is dead does not work 
  • WhatsApp - CTR - close to app notifications
  • Telegram - What’s App no business API for media houses

Sonakshi

  • WhatsApp has replaced SMS. But shut due to public policy changes, but we saw amazing numbers.
  • Email remains a growing medium for sure. 

Tejas

  • Newsletter is the first thing.
  • Email is not rewarding as a number, What’s App, and Telegram subscribe on phone. 
  • Most of the time people do not share email addresses, hence most newsletters end up in spam if not opened once a week. 
  • Facebook used for programmatic
  • Monetization through instant articles and video monetization. 

Sewayi-paisamm
  • We don’t use emails much. We get a better result from iZooto’s web push notifications. We send an email and no one responds, it stays there. 
  • We send a web push notification on their desktop/mobile phones, there is a higher chance for them to click on it.

swaminathan

  • Newsletter we understood last year - the quality of the newsletter, changing the template, a lot of effort to ensure more readers subscribe to it.
  • Push notifications are a bit complicated with the budget constrains. We had got a lot of Insights, but did not use it well
  • With WhatsApp - we do not have an audience,80% of the audience is in the US. 
  • Have not explored Facebook messenger yet. 
  • Facebook ran into a lot of controversies, the mindset of the publishers has changed since last year, how Facebook is showing more content from friends and family compared to businesses. 
  • Telegram is worth exploring, not yet done though.

Ques-12

How do they make sure that people are engaged throughout the funnel? What tools do they make use of to ensure there are no leaks?

SAHIL

  • Social has gone down pretty bad- unlike we used to be active on social.

Sonakshi

  • Fortunately, we hardly have to spend money on performance marketing.
  • For SEM, we just keep the pipe running at a basic level, to get a hold of brand searches.
  • In terms of remarketing, Google and FB audiences work when required
  • Large chunk of effort goes to organic growth.

Ques-14

What do these product champs think about owning an audience? Is it as important as people think it to be? Everyone needs a loyal audience at the end of the day, don’t they?

SAHIL

  • Every publisher has millions of users but when you say I own a user, that’s a really loyal user who comes to your site many times. Frankly such users generally are 1-5% of anybody’s total site visitors. 
  • Owning a user is a process of engaging users multiple times and knowing their likings and dis-likings. It is the engaging of users multiple times is a difficult part, so you will need product hooks and ensure you have a direct touch-point with the end customers.
  • If we know users really well, then it helps in advertising and selling subscriptions too.

Sonakshi

  • With general news, you can’t own an audience. Affinity to a news service can change with who breaks a story first, proprietorship, TV shows quality, journalists etc. This is the branded part of it.
  • For exclusive content, paywall is a great option.
  • Newsletters and podcasts work well to nurture a loyal audience
  • Ultimately, quality of content served is the main hook – how it is distributed comes after that.

Tejas

  • It is the most important and reliable. You can rely on them. It is your users. 
  • If you own an audience, you make sure you can reach out to them with new information.
  • They are not going anywhere unless you offend them with something. 
  • The bigger the audience base you own, the more stability you have in your own product. This is a cushion everyone tries to maintain. 
  • 1st experiment can be done on them. They give you feedback, that’s why they trust you. Some new letters get replies saying what they like and what they don't like.

swaminathan

  • To ensure they are grooved to your side, identity with your brand. We wanted to show the audience more relevant information by implementing 3rd party tool recommendations and personalized experience to the audience. 
  • To ensure the audience only sees what they are interested in. But did not take off because of budget constraints.

Ques-15

Every product leader strives to build engagement. But like any movie, there always exists a ‘villain’ , something/someone who is like a thorn in the path of progress. Who according to the publishers are those villains? 

Vignesh

  • 6 years ago when we started, the dependency on social media was extremely high. But then Facebook would push algorithm changes. We had 1 million audience and a million likes on Facebook but this does not translate to good traffic. 
  • Earlier 50% of audiences came from social media. 95% of this was Facebook. Slowly realized we should start leaning away from them.
  • Although we are very active on social even now, the audience right now is - 12-16% 
  • Most of our audience is organic, social media platforms become the villain at some point to every publisher. However videos tend to do well on these platforms so i am willing to balance it out.
  • Google makes changes with their updates and that also plays with our traffic especially with Discover traffic. It takes time for us to figure out what changes have been made and this results in lost traffic.
  • That is where we have been able to leverage on iZooto. As long as we can build a dedicated audience, knows who we are making our life easier.

Sewayi-paisamm
  • Obviously Facebook. There is less visibility of content and If we want to generate more income with Facebook we have to use technology like instant articles on Facebook. But Facebook is a necessity at the same time.

swaminathan

  • Facebook - We use this less of changing algorithms
  • Advertisement - puts off people, if you put up so many banners. Even the ads are important for us, there needs to be some balance so that it does not break the flow. 
  • No pop-ups, banner ads that are distracting. That's why we need to move to the subscription models, people using AdBlock. 
  • Google also as well - coming up with core updates to search engines, whenever these updates are released, we see fluctuations in user traffic search, it becomes a challenge for the SEO team, tech to understand, which is impacting us. We as publishers need to take to address these fluctuations.

Ques-16

A day in a product leaders life is all about making tough choices in this ever-changing landscape. What are brands focusing more on today? What do the circumstances demand?

Sonakshi

  • For general news, display advertising works better due to lack of exclusivity
  • Brand solutions and smart display ads are going to keep general news brands safe
  • Subscription through newsletters and web push a channel that is growing
  • Loyal users are matched with exclusive content to nurture the paywall route.

Tejas

  • With the new sub-model, a lot more focus on subscription. Revenue is part and parcel of it. Sub is going to help us own the audience. They are the real asset. And this is going to give us the ability to earn more revenue.
  •  Owned users are our strength. They are going to create a stream of revenue for us.

swaminathan

  • I would say so, especially when it comes to sponsored content, not necessarily online ads. When it comes to sponsored content, we tie it up with a lot more companies to publish their content on our site and that is a high revenue for the company. 
  • That takes priory, doesn't mean editorial does not get importance, we do look at it and get it done. 

Ques-17

A product leader’s life revolves around metrics. What metrics are they hunting? 

SAHIL

  • Loads of key metrics - pages per session, session per user, DAU to MAU ratio, monthly active users, avg session duration
  • Comscore on a monthly basis, which is a leader-board for us. 
  • I need to grow the yield of inventory from X to Y. An increase in the loyalty bucket, session per UV, engage, page view per session - KPI

Sonakshi

  • Main battle – How many users visit brands every day?
  • We closely track sessions per user & pages per session
  • On a secondary level, the kind of content pieces that are performing
  • Page views are a vanity metric for me. More tied to maintaining ad impressions than core user acquisition strategy.

Tejas

  • Pages visited -for the editorial team
  • User engagement - user sessions, time spent on the website, unique visitors
  • Ads want an impression. We have our own stats on how much can be done daily. Each user gives X amount of sessions. This helps us calculate how much returns they might get. 
  • Depending on sessions and time spent, what they committed to clients was different. To see if it is the returns that they want, and if  it is balanced. We do not want to overestimate anything.
  • Are the users happy? Is he spending a good amount of time? Which means the content is served well.

Sewayi-paisamm
  • Malaysia is still on the basic metrics like page views on editorial sides, but many advertising agencies are moving towards data-centric or targeting solutions.

swaminathan

  • User traffic - unique users, returning users 
  • Ad viewability, impressions, click-throughs
  • Even if we have user traffic, are they viewing, generating impression click-throughs? 
  • Users who come from social media platforms
  • Social platform seperate team and a separate budget. Direct traffic and traffic from search, we partner with different companies like Apple News, other sources where our feeds are used, Where the traffic is coming from, we keep monitoring.  

It’s almost incredible how one person can change the whole dynamics of the team, the workspace and how they put their blood and sweat to make it all work. These product leader are the unsung heroes, with all the work they do in the background to keep it all smooth and shiny from the outside. 

Get inspired with these 6 product leaders, hit the experiment button, and make better mistakes. You can always connect with these product leaders on LinkedIn if you want any feedback as you go along with the experiments that you do. And when it comes to trying out marketing channels, such as web push notifications, app notifications or Messenger push notifications, you can always reach out to us if you have any questions, or want to know how we can help your business grow.

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Pravya Pravin
Pravya Pravin
Pravya Pravin is a Product Marketer at iZooto. An artist who paints not only with words, but also on canvas. She loves exploring places less traveled and wishes to go on a bike trip to the highest motorable road.

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