GWADS Promotional Awards

2019 Award Winners
Digital Subscriber Growth

The Sacramento Bee
1st Place

Sports Pass

City: Sacramento, CA
Daily audited circulation size: 104,228
Sunday audited circulation size: 202,958


Grow total digital subscriptions and create more paid relationships with content by selling access to a unique content section vs. just unlimited access to all sections.

Starting with Sports.


Target consumers who have exhibited deep interest in sports content vs. all types of content.

Build out a marketing segment for those users and target them through all available channels (on site | social retargeting | off site ads | email) to drive subscriptions for Sports Pass.

Unlimited digital access to all of the local sports content we have to  offer for a particular market.

This will create a middle ground between paying $0 a year for no access and paying $XXX a year for full access to everything.

Establishing the habit of engagement combined with habit of payment positions us well for upsell opportunities down the road.


Originally piloted out of the Miami Herald, the program quickly took off to other major markets that cover professional, collegiate and powerhouse prep sports.

To date across the network, we've generated more than 3,500 Sports Pass starts which includes 5 markets in the west and Ft. Worth.

In Sacramento, Fort Worth, Tacoma & Boise alone, the take rate and sign up volume exceeded expectations and could have potentially been higher if we had timed closer to the start of football season (maximizing interest of the Cowboys, TCU, Boise State, 49ers and Raiders-along with the enthusiasm for high school football).

We expect a substantial increase as the prime sports seasons come back around and we're able to more aggressively target and promote at the consumer level.

The Seattle Times
2nd Place

Monthly E-mail Campaigns

City: Seattle, WA
Daily audited circulation size: 185,000
Sunday audited circulation size: 235,000


To grow digital subscriber volume through use of a monthly sale.


Grow digital subscribers through monthly sales that last anywhere from 2-6 days. We offer this on our website and through a curated list of emails from non-subscribing registered users. In some cases, we have the sale around a holiday during the month.  We utilize a counter or timer to create urgency.


These targeted monthly digital sales account for over 20% of our annual digital start volume. We average about 149 print starts and 643 digital starts each sale in a given month. The campaigns have proven very effective.

Albuquerque Journal
3rd Place

Monetizing traffic to website

City: Albuquerque, NM
Daily audited circulation size: 77,772
Sunday audited circulation size: 127,488


Our objective was to monetize the non-subscriber traffic to our website. We determined that we had close to 7,000 visitors to our website monthly that were not logged in as paid subscribers and another 2,000 visitors that had enabled an ad blocker. We do allow non-subscribers to access content on our site for free if they answer a survey. If no survey is available or an ad blocker is enabled, we do not capitalize on that visitor.


We decided to track the visitors that were not logged in as a paid subscriber and serve them a subscription offer with a headline that read “Support local journalism” along with a message that stated if they were a subscriber to sign in. We also tracked the visitors that had enabled ad blockers and served them the same subscription offer along with a message stating that the ad blocker had to be turn off to visit our website.


We have realized a 19.5% year over year increase in our digital subscriptions and can attribute 16% of that increase to this initiative. Since implementation on January 10th of 2018, we have served the offer to 94,395 visitors with a conversion rate of 2.42%.


Your membership goes to support this nonprofit organization committed to continuing education and sharing of ideas. Members get preferred rates at events, the opportunity to network, learn revenue-generating strategies, and stay in the forefront of ongoing digital engagement. The Board of Directors look forward to your participation and support in advancing our audience development program.

Connect. Learn. Drive Change.

Stay in the know with
news and offerings