Too many digital solutions can hinder rather than help publishers who should consolidate their tech stack to “grease the wheels of storytelling”, according to a new white paper.
Publishers are increasingly looking to subscription growth to make up for the squeeze on digital ad revenues, but simply bundling more tools together may not be the answer.
“The more tech solutions publishers deploy in the name of digital storytelling, the harder that mission becomes,” says Nina Juss, co-founder of global digital subscriptions platform Evolok.
In her white paper, One For All: Six Reasons Why Digital Publishers Should Consolidate Their Tech Stacks, she warns of the temptation to “keep up with the Joneses” in digital, which has left publishers running multiple tools, both old and new, across different areas of the business.
Six reasons why publishers should consolidate their tech stacksBy Evolok
“The danger of this approach is that publishers become weak by attrition,” Juss warns. “They may have plenty of insights, but they lack the know-how to connect everything together. And a lot of time, money, and hard-to-hire tech talent can be wasted on plugging the gap.
“Powerful, unique journalism in a digital sphere instead relies on a compact tech stack: one which slims down and amalgamates resources in one, centralised place.”
With disparate tech solutions not only will media publishers waste time and resources trying to bring them together to work as one, they will also face additional hurdles when trying to bring a new product to market or even when deciding to introduce a new tool into the mix.
“Say you, as a publisher, want to introduce a popular payment solution like GoCardless into your subscription model,” says Juss. “The whole process takes so much longer if you have to integrate that plug-in into an unwieldy tech stack, making it fit within hundreds of back-end systems (all of which cost money to licence). You may even have to build a custom-made connector.
“With fewer tools under one roof, any change or addition becomes much more fluid. There’s less call for expensive tech talent. In fact, many tools within a self-service platform are automated. Teams can manage an update in two or three steps for next-level speed and agility.”
In a tough digital climate it’s tempting for publishers to grab on to new technology in the pursuit of new pathways to monetisation and growth, but this “scattergun” approach to tech can have the opposite effect, according to the white paper by Evolok.
“Design tools, cloud-based CMSs, traffic platforms and more create a dizzying influx of options, but when the sheer level of deployments starts eroding journalistic cause – to produce good stories – the pendulum may have swung too far in tech’s favour,” says Juss.
Having too much tech in your stack can also impact readers and subscribers by diverting money and attention away from the production of quality digital content that will engage them, as well as potentially making for a frustrating user experience on the front end.
“Before you know it, your potential user will have unsubscribed in search of the more seamless, instant experience they’re familiar with,” warns Juss. “That’s poor performance, quashed engagement and lost revenue, all counted in the knock-on from disjointed tech.”
She adds: “A compact stack is the grease on the wheels of storytelling; used smartly and strategically, it should build efficiencies as the cornerstone of long-term revenue – leaving journalists free to focus on the job at hand…
“Decluttering your stack into a one-stop platform is the first step to resetting the balance, enabling publishers to maximise the first-party data that makes all good journalism sing.”
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