Le Devoir Acquisition Strategy: How to Increase Your Digital Subscription Base by 13% in Six Months
2024 Finalist

Le Devoir Acquisition Strategy: How to Increase Your Digital Subscription Base by 13% in Six Months

Le Devoir

Montréal, Canada

Category Digital Subscriptions

Media associated with this campaign

Overview of this campaign

When Meta announced its decision to pull Canadian news content from its platforms on August 1, 2023, Le Devoir’s primary objective was to raise awareness as this decision directly impacted Quebecers’ ability to find reliable information online. Next, Le Devoir positioned itself as the primary solution for readers to avoid the fallout from this decision.


Naturally, the loss of Meta’s traffic would result in decreasing advertising revenues. Over five months, from August to December, Le Devoir projected a decrease of 5,270,000 in page views, translating directly to a revenue loss of $180,000 CAD for the second half of 2023.
Le Devoir, in turn, set two objectives for itself:
Firstly, to compensate for this revenue loss, we aimed to increase our digital subscription base. An increase of 10%, in this respect, we concluded, would offset the revenue loss by the end of the year.
The second objective was to replace Meta’s traffic, roughly one million monthly impressions, with other traffic sources, sustaining the reach we had so diligently built. Le Devoir gave itself six months to reach this goal, starting in June 2023, essentially when Meta began progressively removing our content from its platforms before making its final announcement on August 1st.


We believed our objectives were not only realistic, but attainable for two reasons. For one, regardless of Meta’s announcement, we concluded that readers were still in need of ways to remain informed with trustworthy and reliable news – a trend Le Devoir wanted to capitalize on.
Secondly, we quickly adapted our pricing strategy to be more competitive than ever, removing price as a barrier in the reader’s purchasing decision. Le Devoir launched two promotions: 1) $1 per week for six months of a digital subscription, and 2) a 50% discount on the yearly digital subscription. Le Devoir also leveraged knowledge from paywall case studies, implementing best practices as soon as Meta announced its decision.


Results for this campaign

We launched an advertising campaign, both on our platform and on other platforms, informing readers of the consequences of Meta’s decision. Le Devoir noticed a positive impact on the engagement of readers accessing our content organically, via newsletters or directly. In fact, our pages per session increased by 32% between June and December. Users from Facebook, however, were less engaged.


Additionally, readers that consulted more articles per visit were more likely to be exposed to an advertising popup, promoting subscription along with context on Meta’s announcement. These readers also hit the paywall more often. In turn, our stop rate increased 4% from June to December (8% to 12%). Notably, when an aggressive price was displayed, a conversion was likelier to occur.


As anticipated, Le Devoir exceeded its subscription objective convincingly. By the end of December 2023, we had over 32,000 digital subscribers, a 13% increase compared to June’s 2023. In fact, Le Devoir has never had more digital subscribers.


Our digital churn rate also reached an all-time low (1.17%) by the end of the campaign, compared to 2.4% for the first half of 2023. In many ways, this campaign acted as both an acquisition and retention strategy. It is also important to note that churn rate is not correlated to pricing strategy. Indeed, in March 2023, Le Devoir launched a campaign with an aggressive pricing strategy, and our churn rate was not impacted, going from 2.4% in March to 2.3% in May.
We also reached our second objective, replacing Meta’s traffic with other sources. When compared with the same period in 2022 (August to December), three channels saw noticeable improvements: organic (+34%), email (+16%), and direct (+15%). Direct traffic also increased three times more than our main competitor, La Presse.


This growth resulted in 4,700,000 additional page views over five months, approximately 945,000 monthly. Le Devoir achieved these results with a minimal ad budget of $3,700 for the entire campaign.


Contact

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