For La Tercera, a Chilean traditional newspaper that today has about 20 million unique users per month, transitioning to digital subscriptions was a success. In the 18 months since launching digital subscriptions in May 2019, our digital sales were approaching 25,000 — well above our expectations.
However, the need to find diverse niches was evident. Our records showed a weakness among youth and female users. And although we had several products dedicated to them, none directly addressed the issue of subscription.
This was one of our concerns when we attended the Facebook Reader Revenue Accelerator Programme, which we participated in during the second part of 2020 with a group of Latin American media. There, our strategy was to carry out different tests with characteristics in common: fast, cheap, and whose impact could be quickly evaluated.
Among other elements, we tried a new landing page for the subscription, newsletters focused on messages to avoid customer churn, and variations in the depth of the payment wall. But one of the most successful experiments involved reusing a ready-made product and opening our eyes to an opportunity in a different area.
One of the sections of La Tercera is Paula Cocina, focused on cooking content such as recipes and gourmet products. In August 2020, Paula Cocina offered a PDF with a group of recipes. Originally, the document was just part of a product for a virtual cooking fair and was given free to attendees.
However, one of our team members, Tania Opazo, editor of Interactive Narratives, had a question: What if we offered the PDF as an incentive gift for subscribing to La Tercera? The question was whether people would value that simple PDF enough to subscribe, despite the fact that the PDF originated as a free delivery to another audience in another product.
What happened next surprised us. A group of people decided to subscribe to La Tercera on the promise of receiving the PDF as a welcome gift. They represented about 1% of our monthly subscriptions, but as an action, the e-mail inviting them to subscribe and receive Paula Cocina’s recipe PDF was one of the most successful actions of the entire month.
Take advantage of what works
From this experiment, we realised there could be a niche in the world of cooking recipes. Thus, during the first semester of 2021, we conducted a survey of La Tercera subscribers and Paula Cocina visitors, asking about their interest to pay for a new subscription that focused on online cooking classes and exclusive discounts on quality food products and restaurants.
At the end of July, Club Paula Cocina was launched, a subscription model that more than doubled the subscription goals during its first month and which has added a new product to La Tercera’s digital inventory.
We learned that constant experimenting is the best way to find new opportunities. It is something that we treasure from our Accelerator experience, and we will certainly continue to move forward as a team.