Authoritative Insight and Analysis on World Affairs
The Economist, a weekly newspaper established in 1843, offers authoritative insight and analysis on world affairs, politics, business, finance, science, technology, and the connections between them. Available across print and digital, online, and via a range of apps, The Economist has a global reach and is enjoyed by readers all over the world.
The Goal: Drive More Subscriptions
For this campaign, The Economist’s key objective was to increase the number of subscriptions to its newspaper across 24 countries, including the UK and the US. The team also needed to keep the average cost of subscriptions under a set level using Marin Social’s campaign management tools.
Meeting Demand with Facebook Video Campaigns
The Economist saw the social demand for authoritative insights and opinions on international affairs in a year rich with events of global significance, such as Brexit and the American elections. To drive subscriptions in a cost-efficient way, The Economist applied a range of retargeting strategies on Facebook.
By retargeting people on social media who had already interacted with the brand, The Economist leveraged two specific ad types—Facebook link posts and animated video ads—to engage their readers and encourage them to subscribe. Performance over the time revealed that video ads had a positive effect on engagement rates, with a CTR of 1.24% on video ads compared to a CTR of 0.51% on link posts. Using animations of the weekly print edition cover, along with other editorial videos including KAL Cartoons, The Economist utilized content to drive engagement and encourage purchase consideration among its social audience.
To manage the complexity of wide regional targeting and tight cost per subscription requirements, The Economist used Marin Software optimization rules to ensure cost-efficiency of new subscriptions. Results showed that different videos sparked different levels of interest in different markets. Therefore, through the Marin Social platform, optimization rules were set up to automatically optimize video ad units relative to regional response rates and key performance indicators.
The managed rules increased the reach of video ad units through automated bid management in strong-performing markets and paused under-performing video ad units in other markets. This strategy delivered the maximum number of subscriptions within a target cost per acquisition.
Between September and December 2016, Facebook video ad campaigns delivered strong results:
- 66% rise in new subscriptions through video ad campaigns
- 12% lower cost per subscription than through the static image format
- 72% lower CPC for video ad format than static image