When the group Women’s Polish Strike organised to protest restrictive new abortion laws, Wyborcza.pl saw an opportunity to support the cause while also growing its readership. As the biggest liberal newspaper in Europe, Wyborcza publishes in both print and digital, and its 33 local editions reach more than 16 million unique users every month, with more than 260,000 subscribers.
“We have always been about our mission, and that’s why we were able to build such a strong current community of loyal readers and subscribers,” said Dorota Adamczyk, chief revenue officer. “People in Poland share the same values. So, the question for us was to how to use the shared values as a trigger to become a subscriber.”
In October 2020, thousands of people filled the streets, protesting a restrictive new abortion law. The protests attracted worldwide attention and, as a liberal newspaper, Adamczyk said, “We couldn’t stay put.”
So they created a subscription campaign built around the protest.
“The most popular slogan on the banners was ‘Wypierdalac,’ which means ‘fuck off.’ So it inspired us to prepare — in just one day — a marketing campaign named Fuck Off.”
A provocative campaign
The idea was simple: Each time someone bought a new subscription, Wyborcza donated all the money to the All-Polish Women’s Strike. They promoted the campaign heavily and the results were compelling: In just one week, they had gained 10,000 new subscribers and were able to donate €150,00 (US$171,770) to the organisation. Of those subscribers, 2,100 chose the monthly recurring plan and about 50% were quarterly subscriptions — so Adamczyk said the anticipated a high churn rate three months later. Although these subscribers were engaged, they primarily consumed content related to the protests.
“We knew that to retain them, we had to help them to get to know us better. So we decided that we needed to re-onboard them.”
To do that, they presented the subscribers with more content that was popular among other subscribers and also more content that was popular among other subscribers who also read a lot about protests. They also exposed them to some of the content that wouldn’t be found on the main page, such as their culture magazine.
“The results of those actions were quite good,” she said, noting that 12% of people who chose the one-time subscription offer remained a subscriber, and many of those switched to a recurring offer.
“After 10 months, we had 36% of new subscribers still active on our Web site.”
The campaign was a success, but it also made Adamczyk wonder if it was a one-time hit, or if they could replicate that success while contributing to those who need help.
“There are, unfortunately, more and more situations when when people need our help,” Adamczyk said. “So in August when refugees from Afghanistan appeared, we decide that we would try to collect money again and help them somehow.”
The Save the Refugees campaign provided financial support to organisations working to protect human rights and assist migrants. However, this time it wasn’t the only subscription offer on the Web site, so the results were “completely different,” she said.
The campaign yielded 927 subscriptions, 98 of which were auto-renewable. The other 829 were single subscriptions, with 50% choosing the quarterly plan, 37% opting for a semi-annual plan, and 13% selecting the annual plan. As a result, Wyborcza was able to donate US$26,892)to help refugees.
“What is even more important is that 18% of those who supported the refugees campaign previously supported the women protests, but this time they chose a longer subscription for a longer period. And the retention from the recurring offer after first was really high; it reached 71% and it [performed] 10% better than normally.”
Adamczyk said the campaigns were a good way to attract subscribers, but they are still looking at how to convince them to stay longer.
“Of course, the main message is that it is worth it to stay true to your values because it will pay off.”