The Australian Financial Review - Harnessing data to drive revenue growth
2018 Finalist

The Australian Financial Review - Harnessing data to drive revenue growth

Fairfax Media

Pyrmont, Australia

Category Data and Research

Media associated with this campaign

Overview of this campaign

In Australia’s rapidly changing economy, The Australian Financial Review (AFR) needed to break its brand perception out of the boardroom to appeal to more than just the traditional, bowler-hat types of the business world. And with all digital roads to the AFR leading to a hard paywall, we knew we needed a world-class digital and data strategy to engage our audiences in digital channels and drive acquisition.

Our objectives were to:

  • Extend the AFR’s appeal beyond its traditional business audience
  • Decrease cost-per-acquisition for new subscribers in digital channels
  • Kickstart subscription revenue growth and drive uptake of the digital free trial

We analysed existing subscriber data to build out new audiences we could target with subscription messaging. We looked at page depth, pages per visit and time on site across all content verticals on to establish the strongest revenue opportunities outside of our core business and finance news. We also highlighted six emerging content pillars that were driving strong subscriber engagement: politics, leadership, innovation, luxury, personal finance, and real estate. We then built these content pillars into defined persona segments to extend our targeting into digital prospecting audiences. These personas included the entrepreneur, the real estate investor, the emerging female leader, and the discerning luxury consumer, as well as incremental segments aligned with our established audience: the CEO and the stockbroker. We combined this with third party behavioural data and social channel interest segments, meaning we could find audiences at scale and deliver tailored subscription messaging. With a ‘right message, right place, right time’ strategy, we developed bespoke creative relating specifically to our audience’s own daily online habits. We even created messaging to prompt consideration at specific times of day. Then as our prospective customer moved through the funnel into consideration of a Financial Review subscription, we drove engagement with what lay beyond the hard paywall.

Results for this campaign

  • We smashed this year’s revenue targets by an unprecedented 41%
  • We accelerated our weekly customer acquisition by 21% from campaign launch
  • We lifted total subscribers by 20% year-on-year
  • We decreased our programmatic CPA by 17% and our Facebook CPA by 11%

In digital channels, our success cost us less. We optimised to a 17% decrease in programmatic display cost-per-acquisition by ensuring that we’d only served our creative to a qualified prospect. This allowed us to optimise towards quality audiences whilst still leveraging the reach capabilities of display.

And Facebook demonstrated how business media can work in social channels. We delivered an 11% decrease in Facebook cost-per-acquisition by using effective newsfeed ads to drive the click and stop our time-poor audiences in their social behaviours.

Our finely-tuned audience segmentation also paid off once the prospect had subscribed. The first 30 days of subscription are the churn danger zone, so we continued to speak to our customers past conversion with a data-driven onboarding program under the Daily Habit brand banner, demonstrating the ongoing value in a subscription.

We delivered sequenced email messaging to build habit with our subscribers, and knowing that our customers were as engaged off-platform as they were in checking their inboxes, we built active audiences using the Salesforce / Facebook integration to increase stickiness through increased usage of their subscription. By delivering subscription messaging to segments we knew would pay and stay and continuing to provide value post-conversion, we saw subscriber attrition drop by 6%. Targeting our media strategy with digital data, we created efficiencies in spend, ensuring that every dollar spent delivered.


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