fbpx

    The Economist Behind The Scenes: Using Social Media To Increase Subscriptions

    Fact checked by Vahe Arabian
    Vahe Arabian

    Founder and Editor in Chief of State of Digital Publishing. My vision is to provide digital publishing and media professionals a platform to collaborate and promote their efforts, my passion is to uncover talent and… Read more

    Edited by Vahe Arabian
    Vahe Arabian

    Founder and Editor in Chief of State of Digital Publishing. My vision is to provide digital publishing and media professionals a platform to collaborate and promote their efforts, my passion is to uncover talent and…Read more

    tackling social media at theconomist

    A UK native, Stuart keeps up with the world of digital publishing from his house by the river. When he's not discussing SEO, tech or...Read more

    The early days of the internet provided substantial amounts of revenue for big magazines and newspapers as they turned to digital advertising, yet they could also rely on print subscriptions and ads to keep the cash flow going. As digital has replaced print in many venues, online ad revenues haven’t completely plugged the loss of print ad revenues. The Economist is looking at alternative financial source: subscriptions via social media.

    Social subscribers can translate to money for publishers

    By focusing on subscribers, The Economist ensures a steady cash flow that is free from the vagaries of the ad revenue market. However, it’s the way that it’s attracting these subscribers that caught our eye: through social media.

    The Economist distributes a certain proportion of its work through social media, allowing people to access its content. Nonsubscribers can view up to three articles a week, so if they want more, they need to pay. During 2016, this strategy has increased its digital subscription rate from 303,500 to 345,500 — an increase of nearly 14 percent.

    The magazine titillates its readers by repurposing content for social media. Its facts of the day feature give a straight fact without any context, driving interested readers to find out more by accessing additional information on The Economist. Organic high-performing posts carefully targeted content and retargeting help to turn casual readers on social media into subscribers.

    Stay up to date on the latest news, trends, and best practices in digital publishing.

    Social media presents an opportunity for digital publishers to advertise their work in a variety of forms. At SODP, we’ve noticed that when digital publishers use Facebook in a targeted manner, they can lower reader acquisition costs substantially, and because those readers are already engaged with the content, it’s relatively simple to convert them into regular readers.

    Social targeting and acquisition

    Essentially, The Economist ensures that its targeted readers get into the habit of reading the magazine to get a wide range of information. This promotes loyalty, and it gently persuades them that they need to pay more. While much of the low-hanging fruit has already likely been picked, we believe an ongoing social media strategy to keep this form of digital publishing going is key to The Economist’s success.

    What do you think of this approach to targeting and acquiring new readership?

    Share your views in the comments section below. Or if you have a news story or tip-off, drop us a line at vahe@stateofdigitalpublishing.com.

    laptop-with-rocket-launch-cartoon-icon-illustratio

    PUBLISHER SEO COURSE

    Learn proven strategies to maximize traffic to your digital publication by leveraging tried and tested technical and content SEO strategies.

    GET THE INSIDE SCOOP ON PROVEN STRATEGIES FOR DIGITAL PUBLISHERS

    Related posts

    Receive timely analysis of news and developments in the digital publishing space directly in your mailbox.

    online course

    Publisher SEO

    Learn a technical and content SEO strategy that helps digital publishers increase their organic traffic by 100-500%.

    online course

    Publisher SEO

    Learn a technical and content SEO strategy that helps digital publishers increase their organic traffic by 100-500%.