In a world where “fake news” and the influx of social media and diverse “news sources” increases, taking a stand and showcasing a clear and bold attitude regarding trustworthiness as a media house is crucial. Executed properly, consumers’ search for reliable information is most definitely a trend we can use to our own benefit.

For the last few years, Fædrelandsvennen has shifted toward an editorial focus in our subscription sales efforts, and we have seen very healthy growth in our subscription numbers. Actually, it’s been the best for a few decades.

Fædrelandsvennen’s new landing pages have several features focused on editorial content instead of access and discounts.
Fædrelandsvennen’s new landing pages have several features focused on editorial content instead of access and discounts.

The tide in subscription sales numbers gained momentum the moment we stopped talking solely about access, devices, and discounts, and began emphasising the publications’ journalists, editorial content, and role in society as a whole.

Norway has long been regarded as a mature market for traditional newspapers and news consumption as a whole, and now it’s also ripe with high digital penetration in homes across the country. Just a few years ago, the newsroom and consumer business were strictly working separately. But now we are now undertaking successful joint efforts.

Today, editors and journalists tend to approach the consumer business team with pitches on how to present our content in the best manner possible. How times have changed!

For the most part, this change was fostered by:

  • Carefully safeguarding the editorial integrity in all of our activities.
  • Managing expectations and keeping the newsroom informed.
  • An emphasis on common goals, like audience engagement metrics, rather than just commercial targets.

To prepare this campaign, we built article pages showcasing planned article series giving readers a better idea of what to expect in the forthcoming weeks.

We made campaign pages, each of which featured videos of journalists talking about their upcoming articles. Because we wanted visitors to stay on our properties, we linked to recommended articles below.

Campaign publication followed this schedule:

  • The campaign pages were promoted in a carousel on the frontpage of fvn.no.
  • The videos were promoted on Facebook.
  • The campaign pages were promoted through a comprehensive set of programmatic ads.
  • The campaign pages were promoted on boards throughout the city.

In a comprehensive interconnecting web of touchpoints, videos and campaign pages we presented to our readers included content highlighting coverage to come and good reads subscribers can immediately enjoy.

One early issue we remedied was the appropriate way to label content as “promotional.” After a few sparring sessions with our editor-in-chief, we agreed to label the content with something translating to “stay tuned on fvn.no this autumn.” We didn’t receive any negative feedback from our readers about this throughout the duration of the campaign.

The offer promoted during this campaign was a discount on all three of our product packages for the remainder of the year, which has proven highly effective in the past. The campaign period was September 18 to October 18.

During the campaign:

  • Readers who visited campaign articles increased propensity of purchase by 62% compared to readers who did not visit the campaign articles.
  • Readers who visited campaign articles showed a higher level of use after conversion compared to readers who purchased without visiting the campaign articles (19 pageviews per day versus 12 pageviews per day).
  • The campaign articles were not effective as a means to increase engagement for existing subscribers.

We learned several things from this campaign, but still have several questions as well.

  • Conversion increased when potential subscribers were exposed to upcoming article series and features. We will test this further.
  • Readers who visited campaign articles showed a higher level of use after conversion compared to readers who purchased without visiting the campaign articles (19 pageviews per day versus 12 pageviews per day). Could this approach also be used as a way to get new subscribers to consume more content right from the start?
  • Ongoing tweaking and optimising during the campaign is essential to reach traffic targets and improve recirculation. This could have been remedied by planning publication better in advance.
  • To attain a good level of recirculation, pre-selecting articles with long reading time and high level of recirculation relevant to the section, is of great benefit.
  • We have proven showcasing upcoming content increases conversion during a campaign period. Will this also prove to be true without the discounted subscription package?

So, what’s next? We already have plans in place for the upcoming year with the goal of pushing collaborative efforts with our editorial departments even further. Maybe we will come up with brand new ways of value creation in the consumer business and journalism space. Bring on 2019!