GWADS Best of the Best

2021 Award Submissions
Social Media Marketing

Albuquerque Journal

City: Albuquerque, NM
Daily audited circulation size: 71,539
Sunday audited circulation size: 125,122

Objective

Get 200% more subscriptions to newsletters and our paid products (when compared to traditional standalone promotional messages and ads) through social media with a new type of post.

Strategy

We wanted to use value messaging and calls to action at the same time as our highest interest content when it is posted on Facebook. Presenting customers with things they value simultaneously with promotional messaging is a tried-and-true advertising and marketing practice. 

This effort is split across both our normal news distribution posts and our promotional boosted posts. We use promo post text with a secondary newsletter or subscription link, while the preview link remains a story which lies in a category which we know readers want to engage with. We also laced content-focused posts into our normal promo-only post schedule, focusing less on overall value and more on topic coverage. These use direct links to our subscription portal, or a special offer page created specifically for that section or event. 

Adding paid promotion for newsletter signups gives less familiar or more hesitant readers a zero-cost product which we know many people value. Based on our internal tracking, individuals who receive newsletters are about twice as likely to subscribe when presented with promotions than former subscribers or new users. 

Results

Our daily new newsletter signups have doubled just by adding this promotion to our Facebook rotation. 

We have also seen increased overall subscription sales, but surprisingly most of them have come through standard website signups rather than sometimes heavily discounted promotion codes. We believe this is partially due to a reduction in the amount of information “given away” or “spoiled” within our posts as explanatory text has been eliminated, directing more users to click through to our website instead of feeling they understand the story after seeing three separate informational snippets attached to one post (post text, link headline, and link sub-headline/preview text). 

Individual content posts with calls to action do not see significantly increased or decreased comment and reaction engagement, meaning that we may see even greater results by adding this messaging to even more of our content. Our ratio of news-only shares to news-plus-pitch shares is currently about 3:1. We plan to increase this until we see a drop in per-post performance.

Idaho Statesman

City: Boise, ID
Daily audited circulation size: 29,985
Sunday audited circulation size: 51,065

Objective

Our goal was to determine if engaging with new digital subscribers via sponsored posts on Facebook would improve short term retention. In the end, this should help to improve their engagement with our site and long term retention as well.

Strategy

We partnered with SocialFlow to manage the sponsored post campaign for us. We sent the last 30 days of digital starts and stops to them and then a weekly file was passed with this data. SocialFlow used their knowledge of what posts performed best in terms of engagement from our newsroom and then sponsored these to the new starts.

Results

The initial results were impressive. After 30 days, we saw a churn improvement of 4.75 percentage points after the test compared to prior. However, at 45 days, we saw over triple that with a 14.36 percentage point lift. We continue to run the campaign and expect to see this improvement as we move through the year.

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