Fairfax Media - Independent News for Independent Thinkers
2017 Finalist

Fairfax Media - Independent News for Independent Thinkers

Fairfax Media

Sydney, Australia

Category Data Analytics

Media associated with this campaign

Overview of this campaign

Getting people to pay for quality content is a global challenge for the news industry, with most publications discounting dramatically to persuade readers to subscribe. Additionally, with mass digital fragmentation of news sources, it has become increasingly more difficult – and expensive – to find those audiences willing to pay.

Not only did we need to return to full price to mitigate the revenue leakage and baked-in attrition caused by discounting, we had to cost-effectively find and target the right audiences whose engagement behaviours would increase their propensity to pay – and pay full price.

Our objectives were to:

  • Increase paid digital advertising conversion
  • Decrease paid digital advertising CPA
  • Increase paywall conversion
  • Deliver incremental revenue from new full price subscriptions
  • Decrease attrition through discontinuation of discounted offers

The content-led campaign ‘Independent News for Independent Thinkers’ was launched at The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) and The Age to redefine the subscription value proposition around quality content. We knew content consumption could be used as a proxy for subscription propensity, so we leveraged 1st party content behavioural data from current subscribers to build a compelling creative framework around news topics which we knew drove high engagement on-site.

With this creative framework built across multi-channel assets, we augmented subscriber behavioural data to build out lookalike audiences across both the SMH and The Age’s extensive owned display inventory, off-network programmatic display and Facebook exchanges. This meant we had created highly qualified and cost-effective prospects to whom we could target high engagement news content and deliver them into the subscription funnel.

To extend our qualified audience pool, we used a highly granular subscription touchpoint strategy to build out an extensive retargeting program.  1st party data profiles were built around article, index and homepage visitation, plus the subscription conversion funnel was tracked around site meter, paywall and checkout triggers.  

Finally to drive conversion, we utilised personalisation tools across paywall and checkout touchpoints to augment both content and frequency data and present tailored messaging to prospects e.g. a politics value proposition to a user who has over-indexed in politics content in the last 30 days.

Results for this campaign

By understanding those who truly value being well informed – and targeting them with the right message at the right time – we were able to change the story for Fairfax. Through making data-led, insight-driven decisions and putting analytics at the heart of our subscription strategy, we not only convinced more Australians to pay for the news, but also decreased CPA, shifted value perceptions of the SMH/The Age brands and convinced readers it was worth paying for – at full price.

As per the objectives:

Increase paid digital advertising conversion

  • Increased conversion across paid digital channels by 88%

Decrease paid digital advertising CPA

  • Decreased paid digital advertising CPA by 33%

Increase paywall conversion

  • Increased conversion via the paywall by 21%

Deliver incremental revenue from new full price subscriptions

  • Increased total subscriber revenue by 7% YOY

Decrease attrition through discontinuation of discounted offers

  • Decreased total subscriber attrition by 16% YOY



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