Stock gamification encourages new subscribers to engage, convert

By Eirik Næsje


Oslo, Norway


In recent years, social media platforms and community forums have become more and more popular for sharing news. As a result, it has become increasingly difficult for news media to reach new audiences through traditional publishing methods.

New digital channels seamlessly upend up-to-the-minute news, social sharing, and interactive content to engage readers, while digital transformation for newspapers can be a complex process.

Yet, publishers need to adopt engagement tactics to survive in today’s rapidly changing media landscape. Without it, organisations will find it difficult to gain new subscribers, sign commercial sponsorships, and generate added advertising revenue.

Fortunately, gamification has proven to be a resourceful tactic for major publications in Northern Europe.

A dream portfolio set up by Dagens Industri.
A dream portfolio set up by Dagens Industri.

By adopting gamification, Dagens Næringsliv in Norway attracted more than 21,000 users in 10 weeks with 55% younger than 35 years old, Dagens Industri in Sweden gained more than 17,000 new users during a time of turmoil, and The Telegraph in the United Kingdom leveraged gamification to increase subscribers and “present the brand in a new way” to a non-monetising audience.

Here’s how they did it.

Dagens Industri applies gamifies financial literacy

Conceptually, gamification involves converting a task or subject into a game-like activity. This promotes engagement and involvement, increases enjoyment and comprehension, and simplifies complex concepts for better understanding.

The game utilises primary techniques such as push notifications, social features, and rewards-based systems to attract and nurture users to become loyal visitors of the site.

When considering the practical implication of gamification in news media, the financial sector is the best fit. By gamifying financial literacy, gamification offers the responsible balance required to bridge the gap in financial knowledge.

Specifically, gamified trading provides users with educational opportunities, community engagement, and a risk-free means to gain first-hand experience with trading.

When Dagens Industri asked their players why they played the game:

  • 54% of respondents cited the ability to play risk-free with a “dream” portfolio.
  • 20% wanted to win the cash prize at the end.
  • 10% wanted to challenge colleagues competitively.

The Telegraph attracts a younger, broader audience with gamification

With new audiences looking for entertaining and engaging ways to learn, gamification acts as an innovative lead generation strategy.

By making educational content more interactive and fun, and adding a monetary incentive, you’re more likely to attract a younger audience. Digital campaigns about the game can then attract a broader audience — especially those who are obtaining their sources of news and education online.

Representatives from The Telegraph explained in an interview that, when talking to Millennials, the brand resonated with them, but they rarely visited the site for financial news. To engage this extended audience, they decided to leverage the power of gamification.

The game was set up as an extension of The Telegraph’s Markets Hub, where the players had a chance to win up to £20,000.

The Telegraph continued to clarify the strategy as “the more prizes offered, the more readers are going to play, the more they are going to learn, and the more interested they will be about the content that we publish.”

To get an indication of how much revenue stock gamification can generate for specific media operations, enter your variables into the ROI calculator.

Dagens Næringsliv creates revenue-generating potential with stock gamification

For gamification to engage and nurture users in the subscription funnel, it’s important to follow the data and evaluate performance at each stage of a player’s lifecycle.

Dagens NæringslivFantasy Funds provide a wealth of first-party data — what shares they invest in, what articles they interact with, and how much they invest in different industries. The data is used to target premium content, subscription campaigns, newsletters, and other products.

Leagues are also an important social dimension of Fantasy Funds. Players can compete with co-workers, university peers, or other public groups. Allowing users to interact with each other and compare funds against each other is a key factor for strong engagement and returning users.

When linking the platform with existing investment tools available on the site and continuously introducing users to targeted editorial content, players are much more likely to convert.

The Fantasy Funds breaking news feature and Pulse live market data.
The Fantasy Funds breaking news feature and Pulse live market data.

When assessing the game, the following metrics were identified:

  • 70% were more willing to invest in financial markets.
  • 48% of players visit the game at least once per day.
  • 45% of players read the newsletter, while 17% read it daily.
  • 29% considered becoming paying subscribers.
  • Playing users have less chance of churning than average users.

One of the biggest draws of gamification is that it generates a substantial amount of advertising revenue. Platforms that integrate gamification allow media organisations to strategically place more banners and ads in key locations, thus increasing the value of their ad placements.

Sponsors and advertisers are especially fond of the first-party data available through the game play, as the data allows them to get a clear snapshot of the audience and target their ads accordingly.

Stock gamification also allows media organisations to access the vast marketing budgets of financial services and investing firms. In fact, many media organisations have signed sponsorship deals worth more than €100,000 as a result of the game. For Dagens Næringsliv, the buzz of the game prompted several clients who exclusively advertised in the print edition to transition to digital channels.

Incorporating gamification strategies into your engagement efforts can be an effective way to attract and retain new subscribers while increasing total revenue. With time, analysis of data, and adjustments, you can continue to grow your audience and retain the benefits of a new loyal subscriber base.

About Eirik Næsje

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