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Bonnier News growing subscribers through cross-sell opportunities

Cross sell forced everybody to see the potential and power in collaborating

The challenge

Bonnier Group is a privately held Swedish media group of 175 companies operating across 15 countries. Google News Initiative partnered with Bonnier News and a selection of its daughter brands - Expressen Dagens industri, Dagens Nyheter, Lifestylegroup and Bonnier News Local to create a cross-sell initiative that has successfully proven to increase their digital revenue and subscriptions by 55,000 during the 10 month project duration. Bonnier News as a whole always assigned individual-based targets to its brands, and used its own platforms, and external marketing platforms when developing their subscription revenue.

This ultimately caused a disconnect between the internal sister brands, and limited the subscription growth which they had right on their doorstep. We now know from the project results that the brands within the Bonnier News have a significant audience overlap in interests, meaning a great opportunity to introduce readers to other subscriptions all under one roof. Google News Initiative partnered with Bonnier News and offered support via their Google Cloud Platform (GCP) infrastructure and in particular accessing their data lake via BigQuery. The data landscape at the beginning of the cross-sell project was diverse, but in order for Bonnier’s efforts with predictive models to scale and become truly portable among many of their brands, they needed a standardized way of programmatically accessing data for user behavior, campaign outcomes, and ad interactions.

Running queries programmatically against BigQuery was a key part in achieving automation and scaling across brands. Integrating towards Datastudio and connecting Datastudio with BigQuery also allowed Bonnier to follow up on campaigns and on how well their predictive models performed in near real time. This in turn enabled quick feedback loops and was a key success factor for the project. Google Ad Manager was already a key marketing tool implemented across all Bonnier News brands before the cross-sell project. It allowed upselling of existing subscribers using the BigQuery predictive models, while leading to an increased the amount of subscriptions per subscriber and Average revenue per user (ARPU). A cross-functional culture was also created between employees, and was developed by taking an direct agile war room approach whereby multiple teams held a meeting together in one space. After each meeting, information was gathered to form a

Revenue from video is very important to the business. Without a solid strategy, production was irregular, making it difficult to sell advertising. Now our journalists can include video in all their stories and views are much higher.
Paolo Zanzottera
Paolo Zanzottera
  • 20x Increase in speed of video publishing process
  • 400% Increase in uploaded videos
  • 5x Increase in daily video views

The results

The platform, which launched in autumn 2021, is directly connected via API to the publisher’s YouTube and DailyMotion accounts. That means staff only need to upload each video once to publish across channels. They can also easily change settings. Since launch, Zanzottera says, Robin’s journalists regularly embed video in their stories. And around 20% now record original video, which rarely happened previously.

The increased video content has brought more traffic to the publications’ own websites. Previously, most of Robin’s views took place on YouTube and DailyMotion, explains Zanzottera. “Now 70% of our video plays are directly on our websites,” he says. Figures for pre-roll advertising have improved, too: viewability of ads in those positions has increased from 70% to 89%, and the view through rate (VTR) of those ads has reached 87%, up from 73%. This improvement has allowed Robin’s sales team to start talking to new potential advertisers.

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