Seasonal thoughts about… turnaways

I know the subject of ‘turnaways’ doesn’t sound very festive, but there is a tenuous link: Mary and Joseph became very early turnaway statistics themselves when they were told there was “no room at the inn”.

The definition of a “turnaway” is as simple as that: wanting to gain access, but being turned away at the door. In terms of online content, whenever a user tries to access an article but hits the paywall and fails to get there – that’s a turnaway.

Now – to continue the seasonal theme a little longer – many sales people could probably think of no better gift than a list of hot sales prospects, each backed up with hard evidence of demand for the content they are selling… and that’s exactly what turnaway analysis can provide.

While you might consider failed access stats an uninteresting by-product of your access platform, they can provide hugely valuable insight into customer demand.

To take an example: let’s imagine that 50 researchers at the University of Life tried and failed to access articles from your new title ‘The Journal of Hamster Dentistry’ last month. Even though those users probably weren’t identified individually, somewhere in the logs their IP addresses will have been captured.

It’s then possible to trace that IP information back to the relevant university: either using your own subscriber IP data (if the University of Life already buys other titles from you), or else through third-party IP range data (eg. via Ringgold).

With the detective work done, the gift of a hot lead is ready to wrap up and deliver to your sales team: clear evidence that there’s significant, current demand for that journal, making a compelling case for taking out a subscription.

With budgets squeezed on all sides, this kind of evidence-based selling is increasingly important, to ensure that sales efforts are targeted in the right places. It’s also pretty easy to set up (via MasterVision naturally). So, if you’re not yet using turnaways analysis as a key part of the sales mix, then consider making it a resolution for 2012!

One thought on “Seasonal thoughts about… turnaways

  1. Publishers who are COUNTER compliant may have a COUNTER report specifically for turnaways . But there’s a point that causes a lot of confusion. A “turnaway” for COUNTER is specifically a turnaway that happened because the customer exceeded their concurrency limit. For example, their subscription allows them 10 simultaneous users of Hampster Dentistry. When the 11th turns up, they are denied access and a turnaway should be counted in the COUNTER report. If the customer has no access at all to Hampster Dentistry, you won’t see any turnaways in your COUNTER report, however many frantic Hampster Dentists have been besieging the site all month.

    So the COUNTER report is about insufficient concurrency, not about unmet demand – a useful distinction to remember!

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