Subtext: The Text Marketing Platform Connecting Personalities to Audiences, Creating Revenue for Publishers and Eliminating Social Media Noise
2020 Finalist

Subtext: The Text Marketing Platform Connecting Personalities to Audiences, Creating Revenue for Publishers and Eliminating Social Media Noise

Advance Alpha Group

New York, United States

Category Digital Subscriptions

Overview of this campaign

  • Traditionally, media companies and journalists have worked tirelessly to build large social followings in the hopes of establishing a more personal connection with their readers but social clutter, algorithms and trolls have alienated the very people those institutions hoped to connect with. At the same time, the social platforms have proven to be economically unsustainable for the vast majority of content creators. 

  • Subtext solves these issues by directly connecting users with the personalities they love via a medium that feels more like an unfiltered conversation with a friend and less like a traditional digital subscription product. With communications via SMS, a medium where ample time is typically already spent by users, reporters, content creators and influencers can communicate with their subscribers directly, share news updates in real-time and connect with their biggest fans in a healthier, more intimate setting. 

  • When developing Subtext, the Alpha Group team had 2 goals: First, to create an economically sustainable subscription product that delivered on the promise of creating a unique connection between hosts and subscribers. The team’s second goal was to grow the platform by adding hosts of all backgrounds and allowing them to continue building their subscriber base in a financially sustainable way while creating a new avenue of engagement.  In all, this would allow journalists and content creators the opportunity to own their community and the audiences they have worked so hard to build.

Results for this campaign

  • After becoming publicly available in March of 2019, Subtext has added 150+ hosts and a subscriber base of 10,000+, surpassing their goal of 5,000 subscribers by 200% percent. The platform showed further success with an open rate of 90% and an engagement rate of20% per text. 5M+ messages have been sent with a churn rate of less than 5% for paid subscribers and a month over month growth of 44% through 2019.

  • Subtext has consistently launched new updates to the platform including an analytics dashboard for hosts to manage and grow their community. They also brought on Stanford Knight Fellow JulieAnn McKellog as Director of Audience Growth in June 2019 to drive the expansion of the platform and help hosts make the most of their campaigns and communities. 

  • The early success and technical differentiation of the platform has led to rapid growth. In 2019, USA Today and Gannett launched ten different Subtext campaigns ranging from reporting on politics to tech to country music. During the 2019 mayoral race in San Francisco, Joe Eskenazi, managing editor at Mission Local, used Subtext as pilot service to update followers on the latest developments in the race. A campaign known as The Cord has changed the lives of expecting women and mothers by offering a channel to ask registered birth workers questions regarding pregnancy, birth, and parenthood. Doug Lesmerises, a highly respected sports journalist, reports on Ohio state football at and actively engages with his audiences by providing live updates via text from inside the Buckeye’s locker room while using Subtext as the communication arm of his successful podcast.  

  • The nature of Subtext is innovative because the founders are reinventing what subscriptions models in media look like. Traditionally, people used SMS to communicate with friends and family. Now, they can use SMS to connect directly with hosts, receive unprecedented access to insider information and be a part of an exclusive community while financially supporting the work of their favorite hosts.


To contact a company representative about this campaign, click here for the INMA Member Directory

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