Success Story

Success Story : Libération

Digital Subscriptions and Customer Engagement: How Does Libération Succeed in its Anti-Churn Multichannel Strategy?

Success Story :  Libération


The Client Background

The Client

Libération, a French daily newspaper, founded in 1973 by a group of journalists and intellectuals including Jean-Paul Sartre, Serge July, Jean-Claude Vernier, and Philippe Gavi. The newspaper is known for its left-wing political orientation and commitment to human rights, individual freedoms, and social justice. Consequently, its editorial line covers a spectrum of different subjects: politics, economy, culture, sports, societal issues, etc.

Libération is undoubtedly considered one of the "reference" newspapers in France, thanks to its investigative journalism, progressive editorial strategy, committed approach, and identity as an independent newspaper.

To face various challenges related to changing consumer habits and the impact of digitalization on print media, Libération has consolidated its position by developing its online presence. Indeed, the newspaper now diversifies its multimedia formats and multiplies its revenue sources through various digital subscriptions.


The Context Background

The Context

The progressive DNA that characterizes Libération also transcends through the efforts the newspaper employs in its digitalization process. Libération embarked on this journey in 1990, strengthening its digital presence with the launch of its website in 1997. Thus, Libération became one of the first two French newspapers to offer its readers a new way to consume information: online.

This digital transition was accompanied not only by technological innovations but also by the expansion of online services to adapt to the new preferences and needs of their audience, namely digital subscriptions:

  1. Monthly Digital Subscription:

    allows access to Libération's digital version for a full month. It offers unlimited access to articles, archives, and exclusive content reserved for subscribers.

  2. Annual Digital Subscription:

    a long-term subscription offering the same benefits as the monthly subscription, but for a year. This allows subscribers to benefit from a reduced rate compared to the monthly subscription.

Libération also offers a reduced rate subscription for its low-income readers (students, unemployed, retirees, etc.) and a preferential subscription for professionals (more than 5 people).

The uniqueness of Libération's offers also lies in the benefits included. Whether in a digital-only subscription or a combined digital and paper offer, readers are entitled to:

  1. Unlimited access to all articles

  2. The digital version of the newspaper available from 10 PM (the night before)

  3. Exclusive newsletters reserved for subscribers


The Challenge Background

The Challenge

Churn rate, or the rate of subscription cancellations, is a critical metric for monitoring audience loyalty and the effectiveness of marketing actions.

The online subscription industry experiences an average churn rate varying between 5% and 10% per month. However, this rate is even more significant in the case of digital press, posing a major challenge for Libération. The churn rate for such a daily varies considerably according to the types of digital subscriptions, as per the 2022 Piano benchmark: "retention is much better for annual subscribers (77% after one year) than for monthly subscriptions (33% after one year)."

Therefore, the CRM & Marketing teams at Libération are now challenged to reduce the churn rate of their audience and, conversely, increase customer loyalty. To achieve this, they face three significant challenges:

  1. Identify subscribers at high risk of churn

  2. Segment these subscribers according to predefined criteria

  3. Deliver the right message through the right channel based on churn risk factors


The Solution Background

The Solution

To reduce the rate of unsubscription and disengagement of their audience, Libération first identifies subscribers who are at high risk of churn. To do this, the teams consolidate data on Actito based on two major types of data:

  • Native data in Actito on email activity and web behavior through Actito goals (a script that correlates site visits with database profiles)

  • Data pushed into Actito to enrich the database (interactions with customer service, number of connections on the site and app, subscription information, etc.)

Analyzing this data allows Libération's teams to distinguish four types of subscribers at high risk of churn:

  1. Monthly payment subscribers

  2. Subscribers who cancel

  3. Subscribers with payment incidents

  4. New subscribers without activity

These subscriber types are essentially the churn risk segments that Libération's teams will target through multichannel actions, with messages tailored to the specifics of each segment.


The Results Background

The Results

The identification of the four types of subscribers at high risk of churn allowed Libération's teams to tailor their scenarios (channels, messages, and sending times) to each subscriber segment:

#1 Monthly Payment Subscribers: Based on industry benchmarks and to extend the lifespan of this segment, given their payment frequency, Libération's teams chose to promote the annual subscription through a discount. An email scenario with a monetary incentive is triggered at predefined times, encouraging these subscribers to switch to an annual subscription to save money. Each month, Libération converts over 100 monthly subscribers into annual members, who are then retained for a longer period.

#2 Subscribers Wishing to Cancel: Activating this particular segment occurs through several steps and touchpoints with Libération. The first is at the cancellation form stage, offering the subscriber a reduced rate based on their profile and reasons for cancellation. Then, a pop-up based on the segment retrieved from Actito is displayed at each subscriber's login to encourage them to stay with Libération. This multi-step activation allows Libération to see 5% to 10% of this segment reconsider their decision to cancel.

#3 Subscribers with Payment Incidents: Payment incidents can be due to two main reasons:

  • An expired credit card

  • or

    A payment failure

Subscribers experiencing these incidents are at high risk of churn due to the unsuccessful payment operation. Libération's teams activate this segment by pushing messages through the mobile app, urging them to update their payment method or bank details. This activation has also allowed the newspaper to assess the use of different channels by its audience, as this type of in-app notification is viewed by 52% of the subscribers in this segment.

#4 New Subscribers Without Activity: Little activity often equates to a risk of churn, especially in digital press, as it demonstrates a lack of interest in the content offered.

Therefore, Libération activates this segment by introducing them to newsletters they may not be familiar with or exposing them to new and varied content. This action allows the newspaper to benefit from 1500 to 2000 re-engagements per month.

The multichannel nature of the actions carried out by Libération ensures contact with its subscribers at risk of churn at various stages and times. In the same logic, Libération's teams push SMS campaigns through Actito to subscribers who have not reacted to other activation actions. This "extra mile" undoubtedly bears fruit, as 69% of subscribers who receive these SMS update their bank details, systematically increasing their CLV.


The Upcoming Roadmap Background

The Upcoming Roadmap

Libération has set two main objectives for its upcoming projects:

#1 Further Personalize the Content Offered: both in terms of newsletters through personalized content blocks and on the homepage of the platform and web application. However, it's important to note that this personalization will never be absolute, in an approach to highlight the plurality of viewpoints and the richness of the themes addressed by the newspaper's editorial team.

#2 Predictive Scoring: The French daily aims in its future roadmap to implement an anti-churn scoring system to reinforce the already existing anti-churn actions. Based on the navigation and web behavior data already available on Actito, the idea is to feed the AI with this data to detect predictive churn signals and assign a probability ranging from 0 to 1 based on the behavior of the at-risk user.

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