Globe Up Close: A Subscriber Event Series to Reduce Churn
2021 Finalist

Globe Up Close: A Subscriber Event Series to Reduce Churn

The Globe and Mail

Toronto, Canada

Category Digital Subscriptions

Overview of this campaign

Add value to a subscription:
We’ve learned that showing value is critical to retaining our customers, particularly within the first year of subscribing. Enter Member Benefits, a hub that houses all of the added ‘benefits’ to being a subscriber. Special benefits include curated guides, financial tools, and (live in-person) experiences. As Canadians were mandated to stay home and in-person events were no longer permitted, we decided that a key element to retaining our audience was by engaging them more deeply in a virtual setting. As such, we launched the Globe Up Close series, providing subscribers with the opportunity to get ‘up close’ to Globe journalists through a series of bi-weekly virtual events.

Engage higher propensity to churn audience:
The longer a relationship with a subscriber, the less likely they are to churn. Given this knowledge, we were focused on targeting and attracting subscribers within the first 12 months of their subscription, so that we can build a relationship early on in their subscription journey.

Build community:
We also aimed to build community. The 45-minute live webcasts consist of a 30-minute Globe-hosted conversation, followed by subscriber Q&A. We know that we have a large community of intelligent readers, and so we thought it important to provide an opportunity for them to participate where they can submit questions and communicate openly with one another.  

The objective of this series, was to add additional value to subscribers, engage higher propensity to churn audiences, and build community, to ultimately reduce churn.

Results for this campaign

Through mass promotion across print, email, newsletter, social, and on site, we attracted thousands of subscriber registrants. The series profiled several journalists across various beats including André Picard, Adrian Morrow, Judith Pereira, and Rob Carrick, to name a few. We learned that subscribers who attended the Globe Up Close events churned at a significantly lower rate than those who didn’t.  The retention strategy is two-part: There’s value to subscribers in the premium live experience itself including the discussion and chats with fellow subscribers, but in parallel, we’re deepening the relationship between subscriber and journalist, and enhancing a future reading experience. Whether it be André Picard’s charm, Marsha Lederman’s wit, or Rob Carrick’s very calculated questions and remarks, having heard from them live changes the way you absorb a future article.

Our attendee rate is also significantly higher than industry standard for webcasts, with attendance sometimes reaching 70% of registrants. We also included a gift component where subscribers who join live are entered in a draw.  

The bulk of attendees were within their first 12-months of subscribing.  This is a true success, as we all understand the value of engaging subscribers in this early stage of their subscription journey.

The retention effort didn’t stop at the live event. Post-event email always included ‘further reading’ consisting of three or four recent articles from the featured Globe journalist, to drive readers back to the site, to increase the subscriber’s recency, frequency, and volume.

Although retention is our primary raison d’etre for the series, we decided to take the series one step further, and repurpose it into a podcast series, extending our reach to a new audience. Average episode downloads are in the 80 percentile, when comparing to industry averages.


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