Over the next several weeks iPublish Media Solutions will share our 10 best tips for selecting the best technology partners for your business. This is the second in a series, based on lessons learned during more than a decade of media partnerships.

> Part 1: What are you company’s core objectives?

Question #2: How do you evaluate the ROI of a platform?

Anyone running a media company today understands the value of provable, concrete results.

Have you ever watched a technology vendor present to media executives? You can almost see the wheels turning in the mind of the media leader, as they do “back of the napkin” return on investment analysis. What are the metrics? How much could this be worth? This is especially true if the opportunity falls outside of core qualitative objectives we discussed in step one, such as increasing the audience or retaining market share in a critical franchise. But finding the ROI can be tricky.

Tips for Selecting the Right ROI

In some cases, the ROI is just a straight ratio weighing the potential money earned against the cost of the platform. This is especially true with iPublish Media Solutions’ revenue-share products such as Tributes or Targeted Obituaries on Facebook where the media company only pays for the software when the media company makes money.

However, if the goals are more qualitative and/or the pay-off indirect, you may be measuring other Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) earned against the cost of the initiative.

For example, retaining and/or upselling customers cannot be measured in straight revenue growth associated with a specific cost/revenue analysis, but it is an important objective for most media companies. So how do you measure it?

“Re-sign” rates from end-users is an important indicator that the San Jose Mercury News uses to validate its investment in LeadHax, a custom AdPortal Real Estate platform. The high re-sign rate is one KPI that convinced management that revenue growth from the initiative would be sustainable and long term. A second measurement San Jose Mercury News regularly performs is additional product sales and revenue that comes from customers discovered and nurtured that started as Leadhax-only customers. Read more about these results here.

Revenue Growth is not the Only Important KPI

KPI’s can also define important opportunities that would be overlooked if revenue growth was the only criteria.

Smart media leaders understand streamlining as a KPI: the value of taking a 15-step process requiring multiple people, and boiling it down to a matter of clicks that can be performed by one person in minutes. How many man hours will the software save you? How many errors could the software catch before ads go-to publication, saving you make-good and refund costs? These are highly important KPIs. iPublish has many of these conversations weekly, since our platforms are designed to automate end-to-end processes. These initiatives improve the bottom line and drive down the cost-of-sales, adding long term asset value.

The key skill set here is simply deciding what to measure. If the goal is consumer revenues, a media company may measure audience engagement as an indicator.

If it is the defense of a franchise – or winning back a franchise – it may be the share of customers, or customer perception of value that is the important KPI. For example, confirming the value in the customers’ mind of the addition of digital products or Tributes to Obituaries, a key newspaper revenue generator, must be clearly communicated to the families and funeral homes.

One of the fasted growing software solutions at iPublish Media Solutions is AdPortal Legal Notices. The ROI on this product can be measured in many ways:

  • increasing accuracy & reducing errors by locking down the workflow and business rules
  • saving man-hours and training time by offering a system anyone can use, not just your “legals” expert
  • defending the franchise for newspapers against lobbyists who say the current rules for placing legals is too cumbersome, and encourage state legislators to drop newspaper requirements

Whichever metric you use, ask the vendor how they can prove them with client case studies and referrals. ROI numbers should not merely be based just on potential, but also on real-world case studies from similar customers.

Contact us if you need help establishing ROI based on revenues or KPI’s, backed by case studies and referrals.

> Part 1: What are you company’s core objectives?