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Content as catalyst: How we drove 77% more subscriptions year-on-year
5M

new users reached

77%

more subscriptions year-on-year

60%

increase in brand impressions

The brief

New Scientist is a brand for anyone who has a hunger to know more about how the universe works. They create expert content, live events, conferences and tours to amazing places for their customers to experience.  

However, a tough economic climate following the pandemic impacted their digital demand and performance.  Whilst we were successfully capturing and converting customers via brand search, brand impressions were in decline.  Our mission was to therefore create and launch a new three-year digital strategy with the objective of propelling demand, fostering interest and securing year-on-year growth in their subscriber base.

We set ourselves the following objectives:

  • Grow brand awareness through increased visibility 
  • Engage audiences in New Scientist’s content offering 
  • Revitalise our acquisition approach to drive uplift in subscriptions year-on-year

The strategy

We devised an ambitious three-year plan, increasing budget and introducing six new channels and campaign types to expand our approach to full funnel.

But to get the results needed, this wasn’t going to be enough.  We also needed to pivot how we approached customer connection, reevaluating campaign types and creative elements.  To do this, we adopted a full funnel, customer-centric approach that championed what New Scientist does best: content.

Our new strategy operated across four key pillars:

  • Connect with prospects, driving reach with broad audiences using high quality video content across Meta and YouTube
  • Engage audiences with our content via promotion of special features and free expert newsletters to promote registration, as well as app download activity 
  • Convert engaged, high intent audiences to take out a subscription with New Scientist
  • Retain customers by nurturing post-conversion to increase lifetime value and build advocacy 

By putting New Scientist’s best selling product at the heart of our strategy, we aimed to drive appeal amongst new and lapsed audiences:

The results

The new strategy launched in October 2023.  In just three months, we have already seen:

  • Connect: We have reached almost 5m new users across our media mix.
    • Over 1.7m users on Meta through strategic reach and brand awareness campaigns, using a suite of brand and topic-led creative to reflect the content themes published by New Scientist. 
    • 2.2m impressions on YouTube with a 59% in-stream view rate (user watched at least 10+ seconds of the video). This is 74% higher than the industry benchmark for this placement.
  • Engage: We have tripled our forecast for registrations.
    • Thousands of new users are now onboarded to discover content in exchange for valuable First Party Data to fuel our strategy.  
    • We also doubled the number of newsletter subscriptions vs. forecast, securing a new audience for New Scientist’s free, weekly content who we can look to convert to a paying subscriber in future.
  • Convert: We have driven 77% more subscriptions year-on-year. 
    • Doubling overall impressions and growing brand impressions by 60% since activity launch, proving we’ve successfully propelled demand for New Scientist with the new full funnel strategy.
  • Retain: We’ve seen a ‘take-through rate’ (the number of customers who purchase an ongoing subscription, post introductory trial) of +6 percentage points vs. target on digital packages, showing we’re targeting and onboarding high quality audiences. 

With such strong results three months into our three year strategy, we’ve re-forecasted an upweight in expected subscriptions for the rest of this year. 

“The RocketMill team has been invaluable in helping New Scientist redefine our digital marketing strategy. The results are a testament to the knowledge they impart and the passion and drive they have to support our needs.”

James Nicholson, Head of Campaign Marketing at New Scientist

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