GWADS Best of Best

2022 Award Submissions
Print or Digital Acquisition

Chicago Sun-Times

City: Chicago, IL
Daily audited circulation size: 92,163
Sunday audited circulation size: 97,506


Our daily single copy newsstand price was increasing (Mon-Fri) from $1 to $2. Goal was to convert single copy buyers into home delivery subscribers the first week of the price increase.


Go to market with a "Super Deal" highlighting the "new" newsstand price compared to home delivery price and the weekly savings. We created a basic one sided flyer with no mail back card to keep our cost minimal. Promoted 3 ways to order – phone, url or scan the QR code.

Due to production limitations, we only insert our FSI's on Sunday, so we hand inserted Mon-Sat and machine inserted on Sunday the first week of the price increase. It was crucial to promote every day the first week of the price increase to display the price variance between newsstand and home delivery.

Offer went out for one week only. Promoted 7day delivery only, but the landing page included two other delivery service options. All offers were for a 26 week term.


202 starts, CPO-$36, Response Rate – .11%. (200 or 99% were 7 day/26 week subscriptions and the other 2 were 4 day (Wed, Fri-Sun)/26 week subscriptions.)

How they purchased – 40 online via the url, 37 online via the QR code; 77 total online (38%) and 125 over the phone (62%).

QR code results; 103 scans, 37 subscriptions sold, 18.32% sold via QR code, 33.92% scanned conversion rate.

Daily Record

City: Ellensburg
Daily audited circulation size: 2800
Sunday audited circulation size: NA


To encourage single copy readers into paid subscribers


Printed single sheet flyers to insert in single copies (both rack and vendors). Ran twice per week (varying days) for a month.


Returned 18 paid, EZpay starts in March 2022

The Lancaster News/Paxton Media Group

City: Lancaster
Daily audited circulation size: 2800
Sunday audited circulation size: NA


To take NIE Digital.


I took our NIE Newspapers to Digital a few years ago. The savings is tremendous—print labor, newsprint, delivery cost.

I still give one print copy to each school library; and for special requests. The students relate to the Digital; and they see the newspaper as an important part of their schooling and community.


The NIE Circulation still goes toward Ownership Statements and Audits as Electronic Distribution.

Las Vegas Review-Journal

City: Las Vegas, NV
Daily audited circulation size: 87,201
Sunday audited circulation size: 105,642


Create incremental digital starts from an audience with a low propensity to subscribe by A/B testing offer.


Control group – Business as usual

Test group – Show our stable users and users that have hit the paywall six or more times with a "special offer" popover with the offer of 6 months for 99¢. Test ran for 30 days



  • Control group had 26 conversions. Test group had 90.
  • Notably, 23 of the test group converted at full price meaning they accepted another offer or clicked the Subscribe Button at the top of the website
  • This means 67 of the starts were incremental and starts we would not have received otherwise

Conversion rate:

  • Test group converted at 0.52%.
  • That's 0.38% higher than the 0.14% the control group converted at.
  • That is a 271% increase.


  • Once fully implemented, estimated significant increase in revenue from these subscribers
  • Next step was implementing fully and moving to test step up rates (i.e. one group steps to 4.99, other steps to 8.99) and adding other low propensity groups like social referrers.

Oahu Publications, Inc.

City: Honolulu, HI
Daily audited circulation size: 221,000
Sunday audited circulation size: 163,000


Launch of a Premium Digital Content Strategy and Gateway (Registration Model) on each of our three Neighbor Island websites


Transition from free and open websites to a registration model in which non-subscribers were able to provide pertinent information about themselves in exchange for access to 10 free stores in a 30 day period. Valid email address had to be verified in order to receive the complimentary content. Other info requested was name, addresses, city, ZIP and phone number. Used this information to retarget users who eventually did not subscriber at the outset.


The results were mind blowing to say the least. Each of these 3 daily newspapers are very small community newspapers in rural towns on peripheral islands. Many homes are not connected or there is limited connectivity due to the terrain. In just six months we grew our digital only subscribers from ZERO to these totals:

  • The Garden Island (Kauai): 1,314
    • This represents 57% of our Home Delivery base on Kauai!
  • West Hawaii Today (Kona): 860
    • 29% of our HD base
  • Hawaii Tribune-Herald (Hilo) 701
    • 9% of our HD base

Some marketing verbiage for subs/non-subs:


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