2015 Finalist

Aftonbladet Plus – historic campaign for a leading freemium service


Stockholm, Sweden

Category Paid Content or Subscription Initiative

Media associated with this campaign

Overview of this campaign

Aftonbladet is Sweden’s leading news source with 3.4 million daily users, mostly online, in a population of about 10 million. In the midst of the ongoing structural transformation the biggest challenge is to boost online sales to compensate for the ever decreasing print income. Aftonbladet is the market leader in online pay services for journalism since the pay service Plus launched on the web in 2003. At the beginning of 2014 the service had 170,000 customers. Still, Plus is just starting its journey towards becoming a significant online source of income.

Aftonbladet aims to be an entirely online-based company by 2017, with a digital income that supports the production of editorial content. Growing Plus was the overriding goal for the marketing department in 2014. The strategic work, which included clarifying Plus offerings and increasing the perception of Plus as a natural part of Aftonbladet online, culminated in the concept “When you want to know more” and offerings comprising “in-depth news, tests, guides and unique promotions – tailored to you”.

In May the concept was launched in the biggest ever campaign for Plus, with the goal of reaching 25,000 new customers. The campaign comprised ads in TV, radio, Google and Facebook, as well as in Aftonbladet’s own channels. Ads were optimized using data-driven target audiences aimed at attracting those people who are most apt to buy. The campaign was conducted simultaneously in the editorial content as Plus offerings in connection with news articles, articles about the advantages of Plus, as well as pop-up adds with information about the campaign offer.

A new campaign feature included editorial material produced exclusively for Plus. The editorial team’s award-winning journalist Carina Bergfeldt and photographer Natanael Johansson took Plus readers on a dramatic reporting journey to the “Highway of Tears” in Canada, where at least 20 women have disappeared or been murdered over the past 45 years without a single conviction for the crimes. The series was published exclusively for Plus customers.

Results for this campaign

The May campaign was the most successful campaign in the 11 years of Plus. In 29 days, 31,027 customers subscribed with a record average of 1,070 new customers each day. At the end of the campaign Plus went from 171,469 customers to 204,496 digital clients – and a historic milestone, more than 200,000 paying customers, was achieved. The goal of 25,000 new customers was surpassed by 24 percent.

Plus succeeded at following customers into the mobile realm. Over the past two years the service has shown strong growth in mobile phones, which has taken over as the number one channel where Swedes get their news. This can also be seen in the new purchases during the May campaign, when 50 percent of the new customers joined the service using a mobile channel. Of the new customers, 66 percent were completely new and had never subscribed to Aftonbladet Plus, and the remaining 34 percent were returning customers.

Surveys conducted in conjunction with the campaign show that the communication has increased the service’s credibility, sense of relevance and likability for Plus as well as the Aftonbladet brand, generally.


The high regard for Aftonbladet drives Plus sales.
The campaign drove the likes of Plus, but also the Aftonbladet brand.
Aftonbladet Plus has great potential!

Post-campaign surveys showed a hefty 24 percent of respondents, representing a cross-section of the nation, could imagine getting Aftonbladet Plus – a clear repositioning in the perception of Plus as a natural component of Aftonbladet’s online offering.


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