Publishing industry

Maximize readers’ retention to your portal

Last updated - March 28, 2024

Northwestern University's findings underscore the growing concern surrounding reader retention. A stark increase in monthly churn rates among 107 U.S. newspapers, from 3% in 2021 to 5.5% in 2023, signals a pressing need for strategic intervention.

A staggering 48% decrease in referral traffic from Facebook in 2023, coupled with a 27% decline from X (formerly Twitter), poses another significant challenge for publishers [source: Reuters Institute].

referral traffic to news and media sites decline

Referral traffic decline to news and media sites from Facebook. Source: Reuters Institute

However, despite these shifts, the importance of traffic generation remains undiminished for publishers. Echobox’s Publishing Trends Report 2024 highlights this sentiment, with 63% of respondents citing traffic loss as a significant challenge in 2023 and 64% planning to prioritize traffic generation in the coming year.

In response to these challenges, publishers are recalibrating their strategies towards building direct connections with consumers. According to the 2024 survey by Reuters Institute, a majority (77%) of publisher respondents express their intent to strengthen links through controlled channels such as websites, apps, newsletters, and podcasts. 

As the industry acknowledges the significance of traffic generation, it's crucial to emphasize the pivotal role of returning users in maintaining consistent high traffic to the site. Push notifications help to bring readers back.


  • Capture subscriber attention by delivering relevant content and encouraging return visits to the site or an app.

  • Establish the portal as a primary source of information and cultivate reader loyalty.

Push campaigns for boosting readers’ retention

For news and media publishers, one of the most important aspects is to be the first to deliver important information to their readers. Mass and targeted push campaigns enable reaching subscribers in seconds. Specifically for breaking news, the PushPushGo app offers different features that facilitate campaign preparation:

web push notifications breaking news

Being the first to share breaking news is crucial. It helps spread information quickly and encourages people to come to your portal. If another publisher shares the news first, people will not visit another website for the same story.

Besides mass and targeted campaigns, push automation contributes to higher retention.

Push automation for increasing retention

retention with web push in news and media industry

Once a reader subscribes to your notifications, the PushPushGo application begins tracking their behavior on the site or in the app. This includes gathering data such as:

  • The date of the subscriber's last visit

  • The duration since their last visit

  • Frequently visited content categories and URL addresses

With these insights, you can set up automatic push notifications based on specific conditions. For instance, you can schedule notifications to be sent when a subscriber hasn't visited your website for a defined period. You have the flexibility to choose the timing for these notifications and can include one or more reminders if the initial notification goes unclicked. Additionally, you can specify where the user should be directed upon clicking the notification, whether it's to a particular category, topic, or author of interest.

The average CTR of this scenario is 2.21%.

In this use case, we focused on mass and targeted campaigns and one automation scenario. However,  it's essential to acknowledge that all activities related to push communication strategy play a pivotal role in enhancing user retention. 
Explore the strategies implemented by our esteemed clients in the publishing sector and the results they achieve. Read the case studies.

Handy advice

Remember that the highest results are obtained by notifications sent based on previous subscriber interests.

Thanks to the data they’re based on, notifications will automatically direct your inactive recipients to content aligned with their preferences.

Depending on the specifics of the information you publish, you can set reminders after a day, week or month of absence.

See some examples of automatic notifications sent to increase return rates:

push notification retention

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