2019: A Look Back

In Featured, News by Chris Collett

2019 was an exciting and busy year for us! As we take a look back at some of our milestones, we’d like to give a big thank you to all of our publishers. We’re looking forward to what’s in store in the coming year!

We’re happy to report that 2019 was one of our most productive, and publishers are saying it’s already paying dividends for them. When we considered our goals for the year, we tried to balance industry trends with the needs of our publishers. We anticipated three major industry trends that would need to be prioritized for 2019: Accessibility, Analytics, and Omnichannel Publishing.

Web Accessibility

As publishers continue adapting to the digital landscape, they are increasingly aware of the importance of accessibility. While it’s understood that content should be accessible to everyone, including those with a disability or impairment, the recent rise of ADA lawsuits in the headlines has provided a sense of urgency to those who seek to shield themselves from unwanted litigation.

That is why we made accessibility our top priority for 2019. We were determined to make Turnstyle Web Reader conform to WCAG 2.0 (Level AA) guidelines, ensuring that our publishers could deliver an exceptional reading experience to everyone who wants it. In May we made it official by releasing accessibility updates to Turnstyle, and the feedback has been amazing. With concerns about accessibility alleviated, publishers now have access to new markets where accessibility is a prerequisite, such as government and higher education, and deliver their content to an ever-growing market segment.

Data and Analytics

As measuring reader engagement has evolved to become standard practice, data-savvy publishers have become comfortable with the more advanced reporting tools at their disposal. And since the introduction of our Analytics Reporting tool in the Publisher Dashboard, we’ve seen a steady increase in usage by our Publishers. So in 2019, we made the decision to focus on improvements designed to optimize the tool’s performance while delivering even more supplementary data to our publishers.

Under the hood, the reporting tool’s performance has been improved by smarter and more efficient use of the API. Publishers should no longer see long page load times, especially for those with larger archives. We’ve also enhanced geographic reporting by parsing out regional data for easy sorting, viewing and exporting. Finally, we’ve introduced video tracking, which allows publishers to report on impressions, plays, and completions of any videos added from their JW dashboard. Keep an eye out for 2020, when we’ll be rolling out People Tracking, which will help publishers segment their subscriber lists based on reader engagement metrics.

Content Hub

Disruptions in this industry have demonstrated that having an omnichannel publishing strategy is essential. To meet this demand, publishers require platforms and content channels that work together seamlessly. And while websites and social platforms typically integrate with little effort, it’s the digital editions that have historically been a challenge. So, in 2019 we got to work building an innovative solution we’ ve named Content Hub.

Content Hub gives publishers a flexible, feature-rich architecture to showcase their digital content alongside media and content from other channels in their network. Category-based article lists can be featured alongside the latest video or social stream. Upcoming events can be displayed next to featured articles from the latest issue. This blend of cooperative content gives publishers a platform to amplify their content marketing efforts, increase reader engagement, generate new subscribers and establish new advertising opportunities.

High-Performance Publishing

We’re always working on design and performance enhancements for the Turnstyle publishing platform, and it has evolved into the robust engine powering Content Hub. Some of the features we added in 2019 were quickly adopted by publishers and have shown us we’re on the right track for 2020. Those features include:

  • Article Categories – highlight popular and topic-specific articles alongside your issue archives.
  • Article RSS Feeds – syndicate articles with dynamically generated RSS feeds using any number of categories and filters.
  • Article Excerpts – control what text is used for the table of contents, article lists, and description metadata.
  • Document TOC – a collapsible, multi-level table of contents lets readers navigate content quickly and find the content they need.
  • JW Player Integration – access your JW library and place a video in any article with just a few clicks, without leaving the publisher dashboard.
  • Dashboard Notes – messages can be placed in the dashboard to be viewed by other members of your editorial team.
  • Interstitial Ad Templates – Full-page interstitials are treated as articles and made accessible with text extraction.
  • SEO Improvements – Updated sitemap specifications for every issue in a collection, article excerpts used in description metadata.

Operational Projects

While the GTxcel engineers and developers were busy building amazing things, our operations staff were also hard at work! In 2019, we were able to migrate 95% of our publishers over to the new Turnstyle publishing platform. They are now able to take advantage of all Turnstyle’s features and update their library to Content Hub. If you are one of the last holdouts, we encourage you to reach out to your account manager today! Some of the other projects that we’ve completed in 2019:

  • HTTPS – Google now puts a warning label on nonsecure websites. As a result, we began upgrading all non-secure titles to HTTPS in May.
  • New Website – Our website got its first major redesign in years in 2019.
  • Office Move – After 17 years in the same office space, we relocated. It’s in the same building, but it’s a larger and newer office!
  • Improved Client Communications – We’re doing our best to keep our publishers updated on everything we’re doing. The monthly newsletter, website, blog and social media all came back to life in 2019. You’re sure to see even more activity in 2020.

What’s Coming in 2020?

As we consider our goals for 2020, we’re mindful of the importance of balancing industry trends with the needs of our publishers. As more of their readers are consuming content on mobile devices than ever before, delivering a quality reading experience on those devices is something we always strive for.

Data and Analytics play an increasingly important role in examing reading behavior. As publishers become more data-savvy, so too will the sophistication of our tools.

We’ll also be looking to new markets, as the accessibility of Turnstyle and the flexibility of Content Hub enable publishers to digitize a more diverse set of documents and publications.

We hope you had a successful 2019, and look forward to growing with you in the year to come!