NTM launches holiday contests to engage subscribers, drive pageviews

By Jens Pettersson


Stockholm, Sweden


Relevant and valued journalism will always be the essential part of a news subscription offering. But if you want to add extra firewood to the engagement bonfire, why not try to attract your visitors with something as simple as contests?

This classic content is used by most commercial radio stations to ensure listeners return at certain days and times. It’s also something you can try out in the newsroom.

I wrote this article at the beginning of December. In Sweden, that is the start of the Christmas period. December 1 is the first day to begin opening the advent calendar. This is a German tradition introduced to Sweden in 1934 and is also found in many other countries. The calendar is used to count the days of Advent in anticipation of Christmas. There are 24 calendar doors to open — one per day.

Like opening the daily advent calendar window, a daily contest encourages subscribers to build a daily habit with a news publication.
Like opening the daily advent calendar window, a daily contest encourages subscribers to build a daily habit with a news publication.

At NTM, we have been conducting different digital tests on this concept over time. This year we implemented the same kind of concept at all our 18 news sites. Each day we publish a new article with a new “door” to open. Upon opening the door, the subscriber finds a couple of different questions to answer.

Each day, we draw a winner and hand out different kinds of prizes. There is also a bigger prize to be awarded to those contributing throughout the whole period. Of course, this is a way to try to steer behaviour into visiting our sites daily during the time period. Doing this, we hope to increase the possibility visitors are consuming more news. In the long run, more regular visits help us hold onto customers.

So why spend valuable editorial time on this? Our reporters could be used for investigative journalism and reveal injustices or misuses of tax funds.

Well, creating value for subscribers can be done in many ways. Using contests to give them challenges for the brain and the opportunity to improve household finances could be seen as an important move into widening the perception of what a subscription offers in return for the subscription fee. The important part is that the paying customer actually perceives a value.

This aspect is even more important to consider right now. In Sweden, as well as in the rest of Europe, households’ financial situations are under pressure due to rising prices on electricity, fuel, and food. Inflation is higher than it has been in a very long time, and people’s wallets are under attack.

Offering contests with prizes that can ease the financial situation is a way for publishers to strengthen the relationship with subscribers. And, if you keep the contests coming on a regular basis, you also strengthen the habit of visiting your news site.

For us at NTM, this broad rollout of a daily contest as a common solution for all our news brands is a first test. The first couple of days had a great outcome, both in subscriber pageviews of the content and with actual engagement with Riddle, the contest tool people use to answer the questions. 

We are already looking into the possibilities of following this with a New Year’s contest, which would begin the day after Christmas Eve. This would have even better and more valuable prizes in collaboration with our sales department.

And, at one of our titles in the north of Sweden, we are also about to roll out a weekly contest related to sports betting on local sports teams. This is because we have such high engagement on sports in general in that region.

Everybody wants to be a winner. In this case, it can be true both for the newsrooms and the happy subscribers.

About Jens Pettersson

By continuing to browse or by clicking “ACCEPT,” you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance your site experience. To learn more about how we use cookies, please see our privacy policy.