The subscription business model is booming, growing at a rate of 200% annually since 2011. With that growth comes the potential for digital publishers to utilise intelligent subscription bundles to increase user retention and engagement, and simultaneously increase revenue in the process.
And yet, with all the upsides, bundling is still a relatively unexplored avenue for revenue growth. While 69% of consumers would actively choose to bundle their subscriptions, digital publishers fail to keep up, and can often launch new bundles that don’t convert.
So, how can you ensure that your new subscription bundle has the greatest possible chance of success?
Here are five essentials to keep in mind when creating your subscription bundles:
1. Experiment with different bundle types
Subscription businesses operate with different types of package bundles. It’s important to consider different variations of your bundles to make sure you don’t get stuck in siloed thinking. Types of bundles include:
- Organic bundling- This involves creating a collection of your own digital products that complement each other well e.g. combining a sports article access with a sports podcast or live sports news. This allows for scale, which is good for smaller services that might struggle to develop on their own.
- Partnership bundling- This involves identifying a strategic partner to collaborate with (preferably a partner who has a complementary consumer base). E.g. a music subscription service tied with a podcast platform.
- Aggregator bundling- This involves merging several bundles together into a “super bundle”, meaning users have a unified and simplified platform where all their favourites are combined. E.g. live highlights of all football games across all news providers, plus sports bundle articles, plus exclusive commentary content.
There’s no one-size-fits-all for bundling types, each business will vary depending on the product type and the audience engaged with that service. Ultimately, businesses that succeed with subscription bundles will be those who can test ideas quickly…
2. “Try fast and fail fast”
Rapid time-to-revenue is essential, meaning you need the infrastructure in place to be able to test bundle ideas quickly, gain actionable insights fast, tweak accordingly, and push successful bundles live. Ensuring your tech stack has the capability for your commercial team to respond to trends quickly and test new product bundles without great risk will ensure you’re ahead of the curve when it comes to launching bundles at the right time.
“I really appreciate [the ability to be] nimble and flexible, measure results, and make quick decisions. [To] try things out and fail fast, or try things out and see some early wins and then build on them. ”
Mary Walter-Brown, COO, Voice of San Diego
To achieve this ‘try fast and fail fast’ methodology, some of the leading digital publishers turn to subscription experience platforms to test bundles, see what sticks and respond quickly with the right insight data.
3. Have the ability to integrate new technology quickly
Creating bespoke integrations or in-house technology solutions can involve month-long technology projects, in some cases costing millions of dollars. The New York Times, Bloomberg reported, spent 14 months and $50m on an in-house technology solution over
ten years ago - time and cash most publishers don’t have to spare.
This bespoke integration approach makes it impossible to build a profitable bundling business that can scale. This is where best-of-breed technology can make the difference between adapting and thriving, or struggling to keep up!
If you want to be able to create high converting bundles and act on trends quickly, you need to be able to plug in the right technology solutions that can adapt to the various changes and data collection you require.
4. Provide real value
While this might sound like an obvious step, digital publishers don’t always get this right. It’s important to understand what users actually want from a bundle. Everyone loves a bargain, but evidence suggests consumers don’t just look at price when considering bundle options:
69% of consumers would prefer to bundle their subscriptions if they could choose which ones to include, and 43% of consumers chose convenience as one of the most important factors that make subscription bundles valuable.
With stats like that, it’s clear that having the cheapest price simply isn’t enough. Consumers want convenience with bundles they will actually use. The subscription bundle should ultimately complement the experience that a reader may already be paying for, as well as provide them with additional features that are appealing.
One way to ensure you provide real value in your bundles is by looking at user behaviour data and seeing what people interact with most. Bundles can then be personalised to make them more attractive…
5. Understand the importance of personalisation
In a joint study with Digiday, Zephr found that 70% of publishers fail to personalise digital offerings based on readers’ digital access points.
It’s clear from the above stats that personalisation is what consumers want, so why do digital publishers fall behind?
For many, it comes down to a lack of first-party data, or a failure to progressively collect information on users and create an accurate picture of their interests and preferences.
Digital publishers need to be tracking general demographics, age, location, interests, buyer behaviour and even churn risk to ensure they can offer bundles to the right consumer, at the right time, for the right price. One way to gather data like this is through free trial periods or exclusive content that can only be accessed through a registration form.
Getting the leading edge
Creating a lucrative subscription bundle isn't as easy as putting two items together. Above all else, digital publishers need to make sure they experiment with different bundles, offer personalisation, and prioritise customer value. This will not only help generate more sales for bundles in the long run but also increase customer satisfaction as users feel like their needs are being met.
If you’re struggling to choose the right bundling strategy for your business, download our whitepaper, Bundling vs Unbundling Digital Subscriptions, to discover actionable insights for publishers looking to attract more customers and drive revenue growth with their bundles.