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Habitat Magazine

Habitat Magazine, based in New York, has been providing topical and important content for co-op and condo boards, residents, businesses, and other interested parties for 35 years.

Habitat Magazine needed to be creative in evolving its traditional print paid circulation model into a thriving multi-channel, online strategy.

Habitat Magazine website homepage

I am very excited for Habitat’s continued growth as we launch new products and digital offerings. We are proud to serve the New York real estate community and provide a great customer experience. Mugo Web has helped us manage our content wisely and ensure we are prepared for the future.

- Carol Ott

 

Habitat’s clearly defined focus on the concerns of co-op/condo board directors and property managers in the greater New York area has earned it a high-value audience of about 7,500 paid subscribers. However, its ability to scale is limited to a relatively small geographic area – as big as it is, New York is just one market. And Habitat targets a very specialized audience.

So Habitat’s growth initiatives are focused on creating new digital revenue streams and engagement for its established user base. This has meant trial and error powered by a modern, flexible DXP.

Key factors for success

Since moving to eZ Platform two decades ago, Habitat has launched a series of iterative projects to advance its digital transformation. Each of these projects has shared these key underlying business requirements:

  • Maintain core subscription and advertising revenues. Habitat continues to make a huge investment in content for its high-value audience, and it wants new features and channels to be additive to its subscribers’ overall experience.
  • Evolve content in step with the Habitat audience, which is increasingly digital-first. As younger people join co-op and condo boards, Habitat’s content must evolve to keep pace with its audience’s changing preferences, and advertisers increasingly want to reach Habitat’s subscribers in online, interactive channels.
  • Grow digital revenues. Each new digital experience needs to demonstrate clearly that it is going to generate revenue or increase reader engagement in a strategic way that will eventually lead to new revenue.

The agility of eZ Platform has enabled Habitat and its development partner, Mugo Web, to innovate without facing prohibitive development costs. Following a complete site relaunch and platform update, Habitat has taken an iterative approach to rolling out new features, all tied to specific business metrics.

Habitat’s willingness to try creative new strategies has led to many successes. And even when an experiment doesn’t quite meet its three core business goals, Habitat can recalibrate its strategies with a better understanding of its audience.

Projects that get results

Here’s a look at a couple of projects the team at Habitat and Mugo Web have conceptualized and implemented, and the impact each has on Habitat’s core business.

Habitat Archive

Much of Habitat’s print reporting has “evergreen” value to its core audience. Habitat publishes unique web content daily, but an online content repository of its print articles made sense. Habitat is using a gated content model that allows readers to see a few articles before requiring them to sign up for a subscription. Users can opt for a 24-hour pass or an annual subscription. Mugo implemented a rich taxonomy structure so that users can easily search and drill down into the types of articles they want to read.

The results: Habitat has seen that most people opt for an annual subscription, which includes the archive as well as the digital magazine and e-newsletters. Habitat can now take advantage of this asset and in entirely new ways -- for instance, as a specialized knowledge base for a co-op board of directors. Having all its content in a scalable CMS enables Habitat to quickly respond to any such opportunities in its market, where information is considered at a high premium.

Multi-channel editorial

Habitat has developed several multi-channel, interactive user experiences that also provide unique sponsorship opportunities.

These include Ask the Experts, which are sponsored videos showcasing industry insiders, and Seeking Counsel, which offers legal insights. These digital elements build upon print elements, and are made possible by the flexible content model set up in the CMS. It also uses targeting and inventory management features of Google Ad Manager, which Mugo implemented during Habitat’s site re-launch.

The results: Revenues from multi-channel editorial experiences have grown by 68% since 2016. (Overall, online ad revenue has doubled since the Ad Manager implementation.) The three-pronged strategy of print/video/display has proven so successful that Habitat has developed branded offerings on many topic areas.

An ongoing learning process

So, what are the biggest lessons Habitat has learned during its ongoing evolution from a traditional print publisher to a multi-channel digital platform?

  • Investing in digital doesn't have to be all-or-nothing. It can piggyback on your print strategies.
  • Learning about your audience is a key win for any digital experience. Some of Habitat’s experiments have proven to be the basis of new, even more successful channel launches. It’s important to measure user response and react accordingly.
  • Multi-channel programs have proven to be extremely successful, both in reader engagement and revenue generation.
  • It’s key to allow users to engage with your content in the channel and format that works best for them. Revenue opportunities will follow.

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