Digital Subscription Growth, Data and Keewee

bullseyeDepending on where you are in your digital subscription growth strategy, things might be getting a little tougher in terms of continuing to grow the number.  Perhaps much tougher.

If you’ve lowered the meter, experimented with different pricing models (A/B or A/B/C testing) and marketed the heck out of them, using data to drive both acquisition and retention is the logical next step.

I talk about this in a previous post (Digital subscription growth-personalization is the key) and it’s important newspapers dive head first into the data pool in order to continue growth.


Because digital subscription growth continues to be very important to newspapers and in many cases, is one of the most important goals they have for the remainder of 2016 and 2017. In conversations with several newspaper companies in the last few months, several have stated their goal is 15%-25% growth in digital subscriptions moving into the next budget cycle.

Again, depending on where you are in your digital subscription growth strategy, the low hanging fruit is gone and has been for some time. Finding potential subscribers now requires a scientific approach that only data can deliver. Unless you’re one of the newspaper companies that have developed their own data solution, you’ll need a partner. Data companies like Leap Media, Marketing Solutions Group, Marketing G2 and many others can help find mirror images of your current digital subscribers and target them. Not only can they help you find them, but most can tell you the best way to contact them and can handle the communication process. If you haven’t explored these solutions, I highly recommend that you do for both print and digital strategies. Partnering with these companies or ones like them requires an investment, but if continued growth is the goal, you’ve got to do it.

But what about targeting potential subscribers on social? We’ve all sent subscription offers to our followers, but very few have seen substantial results from those type efforts. The same need for science applies to tapping into this very large audience. We need to use data to connect our content with the right audience on social.

While I’m sure there is more than one company that can help with social targeting, the one I’ve read about and researched is Keewee.

Simply put, Keywee uses natural-language processing to scan and understand what your content is about and then uses its vast database of historical performance to target audiences that have been shown to act on content like yours. They develop different variations of paid posts, with optimized bids for each audience target. They also provide insight into how your paid posts are performing with your targeted audiences, across platforms via an easy to understand dashboard.

While my description makes the process sound simple, what they do is fascinating.

According to an article on, The New York Times has been using Keywee since September and was reluctant to say exactly how many subscriptions it has sold this way. But the Times said the service “constantly outperforms” other channels. The Times said it’s getting a 150 percent return on subscription revenue for every dollar it spends this way. Another key stat: Half the people coming to the site this way are first-time visitors.

Keewee’s client list is growing to include Kiplinger, BBC and National Geographic to name a few.

Like other data initiatives, finding the right target audiences on social that have been shown to act on content like yours requires a investment, but the potential for continued growth is evident. Tapping into this very large audience requires science as well.








About Jeff Hartley

Career Newspaper Executive specializing in Consumer Revenue Growth-both print and digital. Social Media and Mobile Enthusiast. Frequent speaker on consumer revenue and print/digital audience growth.
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