From chasing reach to a convertible audience: The case for Loyal Non-Subscribers
Overview of this campaign
Amedia's 63 local newspapers has seen impressive growth in digital subscription for nearly three years – and the data/analytics platform we've built and the insights we've gleaned from it has been important factors underpinning that growth.
At the same time, it's clear that communicating enormous amounts of hard-to-understand data, to change journalistic behavior and drive growth is as - or more - important as actually getting the data into the system. What you measure is what you reap - and nowhere has this been more apparent in developing our journalism.
Amedia's business objective in developing its local journalism is twofold:
- Attract new subscribers from our massive reach (getting readers through the funnel)
- Retain the subscribers we have attracted
Both are equally important for the continued funding of local journalism - and both deal directly with the perceived value journalism delivers to readers.
In 2017, our priority has primarily been on the first of these goals: to further utilize our reach, to focus our journalistic efforts on the potentially most valuable of our readers: those who exhibit readership patterns signalling a future subscriber.
For this purpose we specifically built the segment "Loyal non-subscribers" to guide and focus local editorial development. This segment is utilized primarily through live editorial dashboards that is available for every single newsroom and every single journalist (all with individual accounts) - and for the aggregate of all newspapers. The data is also available for analysis by analysts/data scientists working in our central editorial development operation - feeding directly into furthering our journalistic and audience targets.
Utilizing this data is all about changing newsroom culture, and the practice of our journalism, into delivering more value to the readers who matter most: our local audiences.
Results for this campaign
The introduction of "Loyal non-subscribers" as a key metric had two phases in 2017: analysis and piloting in Q1, rollout from Q2.
During analysis, we were conclusively able to demonstrate a correlation between non-subscribers' visit frequency/readership volume and their likelihood to subscribe.
From an analysis of 4,300 articles we were also conclusively able to demonstrate that non-subscribers visiting more than twice over a period of 21 days exhibited a clear pattern in preferring local stories over non-local - as opposed to browsers with a lower visit frequency.
This gave us the data to create the segment - and to set up a prototype editorial dashboard.
Our pilot newspapers tested whether this dashboard helped them balance:
- Continued growth in engagement from subscribers, including converting of new subscribers
- Growth in loyal non-subscribers
Early April, editors from our 30 largest newspapers were presented the results, and in May the dashboard became a new standard. All our 63 newspapers were given KPIs for loyal non-subscriber engagement. Over the next five months, three persons visited the 30 largest newsrooms to distribute insights and get feedback.
- Increase in daily loyal non-subscriber readership from 350,000 browsers to 390,000.
- An increase from 450,000 to 550,000 daily browsers among subscribers. In other words - we were moving readers from the loyal non-subscriber category to the subscriber category all the while growing the number of loyal non-subscribers.
- The increased reach and frequency also led to increased volume: steep growth from 5m daily page views to 6.5m daily page views.
- Growth in number of subscribers from 480,000 to 507,000 (5,6% subscription growth)
- Growth in number of digital subscribers from 110,000 to 160,000 (45,5% digital subscription growth)