SCMP’s Audience Contact Strategy
2021 Finalist

SCMP’s Audience Contact Strategy

South China Morning Post

Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Category Data and Research

Media associated with this campaign

Overview of this campaign

To support SCMP’s digital subscription service launch, we needed to materially transform our email communications strategy to better nurture reading behaviours and create a more positive reader experience to support reader revenue growth. 

Our intent was to adopt and implement a lifecycle marketing approach to all reader outreach, creating reader-centric communications that enhanced personalisation throughout the news consumption journey. If correctly implemented, it would enrich engagement and build greater loyalty towards SCMP’s editorial product. It would also move reader communications beyond just functional and create incremental news consumption behaviours, build higher usage frequency and enable promotion of key editorial content pillars that met specific needs, thereby supporting the launch of SCMP’s digital subscription service launch.

Having a holistic view of readers’ outreach and engagement and the use of 1st party data (including content preferences, onsite interactions, newsletter engagements and subscription preferences) meant more personalised, timely and relevant communications to all SCMP readers. Triggered email communications based on reader's interactions or designated engagement criteria allowed a scalable and bespoke approach to reader engagement across all stages of the audience funnel.


Our framework for automated and personalised content curation as follows:

- Acquisition & Onboarding: Automated series of communications focusing on the welcome and onboarding experience for newsletters subscribers, registered acomg his count users and paid subscribers. Triggered based on user-initiated interactions and uses persona and affinity interest data to curate content recommendations.

- Engagement & Content Recommendations: Provide readers with additional content recommendations, including multimedia content, beyond their normal topics of interest. This is curated with datapoints from digital subscription usage, onsite engagement and tailored to specific reader geo behaviours. 

- Upsell: Utilising content recommendations as a vehicle to upsell digital subscriptions to longer term, higher revenue subscription plans.

- Churn Prevention & Reactivation: Automated communications series designed to prevent reader inactivity, including lapsed engagement or subscription suspension, based on deep analysis of engagement and subscription usage data. Communications are triggered when readers change their engagement patterns.

Results for this campaign

We created over 110 personalised and automated communications emails within the audience contact strategy, built on the bedrock of 1st party data to deliver timely and the most relevant content. In doing so, we saw a clear positive connection and impact on our readers.

The audience contact strategy is a proven success with results on an unprecedented scale for SCMP including:

- The strategy implementation has seen the delivery of over 3 million personalised communications

- 200% YoY growth in newsletter subscriptions

- 150% uplift in average open rate (far exceeding industry averages for the region)

- 77% of new podcast listeners acquired through contact strategy upsell communications 

- Reactivation of 25% of all lapsed newsletter users

- An ongoing consistent approach to tracking and preventing reader inactivity that leads to subscription churn

The audience contact strategy has also provided support towards achieving reader revenue goals:

- Each month we achieve over 55% of total digital subscriptions through the audience contact strategy

- Supported the daily growth of digital subscriptions across key strategic and emerging geos

- Upsell communications now equates to 30% of total digital subscriptions

- With all subscriptions marketing initiatives combined, the strategy has driven 44% of total digital subscriptions in Hong Kong, 69% in United States and 69% across the Rest of World geos



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