11 ways to monetise large digital audiences

The Mail Online homepage - it's ain't pretty, but it attracts a huge audience
The Mail Online homepage – it ain’t pretty, but it attracts a huge audience

The UK’s Mail Online newspaper website now has 189.5 million monthly unique visitors, that’s two and a half times the population of the UK.

Working on a month of 22 weekdays plus 4 weekends, the Daily Mail sells 52.1 million newspapers, read by 129.4 million people. Whilst it’s difficult to compare those readership figures with the website’s monthly unique visitors, there’s probably the same level of inaccuracy in both figures, which can make them ballpark comparable.

Back to the website for a moment – how can a monthly readership of almost 190 million users be turned into revenue?

This question has come up at work several times in the last week, so here are some thoughts on digital monetisation methods. These methods don’t just apply to newspaper, or even content-based websites – they apply to almost all types of web and mobile sites, as well as apps.

In the next few blog posts I’ll describe the methods in some detail, and I’ll add links to the articles as they become available.

  1. Subscription
  2. Freemium
  3. Sponsorship
  4. Advertising
  5. Sponsored placement
  6. Free trials
  7. Affiliate
  8. Licensing
  9. Cross-sell and up-selling
  10. Premium mobile services
  11. User data


Since the 11 articles above were published on this website, I’ve had lots of feedback across a variety of social media channels, meetings and phone calls, and two major themes arose:

1. A successful monetisation strategy requires a number of approaches

Content monetisation strategies should include many price points and touch points
Content monetisation strategies should include many price points and touch points

It’s rare that a website or mobile app adopts one of the strategies listed above.

Most use three or four – and remember that not all of them are obvious to end users (such as data).

2. A successful monetisation strategy can be applied to a digital property is [largely] independent to the traffic level of those properties

Half way through the series of posts, readers questioned why these methods were relevant to large audiences – they applied to niche sites too. The more I discussed this with them, I changed some of the posts to show how they can work for smaller audiences.

Viewership has always been about quantity vs quality: even if a website has a very small audience, if that small audience is a group of Chief Executives, it’s going to have a high value. And where a website with a large audience can earn revenue from low advertising CPMs, the website with a small group of Chief Executives can charge higher CPMs.

If you have any other comments, please use the comments below or the feedback form on the website.

12 thoughts on “11 ways to monetise large digital audiences

  1. I think this market is way too complicated , some companies will promise you things that will never happened … and the reality will be different . I know about one agency, Flamingo Mobile , that can actually build your strategy and represent you in front of all the many networks \ companies in the market. I think the website is http://www.flamingomobile.com

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