Marin Software boosts new subscriptions by 66% for The Economist with social campaign

Content (205), Social (205), Technology, Media & Telecoms (87), US (100), UK (318), Americas (127), EMEA (357)

The Economist increases new subscriptions by 66% with a targeted social campaign by Marin Software.

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Using two specific ad types – Facebook link posts and animated video ads – The Economist targeted Facebook users who had already interacted with the brand to engage readers and successfully encourage them to subscribe to the newspaper.

Objectives & Aims

To increase the number of subscriptions to The Economist with an audience in that is already engaged with the brand, based in 24 countries including the UK and the US.

Implementation, Execution & Tactics

The Economist wanted to apply its storytelling values to its marketing to engage with people, consistent with the content they find on the site. By engaging with people on social media who had already interacted with the brand, it used two specific ad types – Facebook link posts and animated video ads – to engage readers and encourage them to subscribe.

Performance over the time revealed that video ads had a positive effect on engagement rates, with a CTR of 1.24% on video ads compared to a CTR of 0.51% on link posts. The brand then created short and engaging videos, launching a new video ad every week to further drive engagement.

Upon finding that different videos sparked different levels of interest in different markets, through the Marin Social platform, the brand set up optimisation rules to automatically optimise video ad units relative to regional response rates and key performance indicators.

This increased the reach of video ad units through automated bid management in strong-performing markets and paused under-performing video ad units in other markets, which delivered the maximum number of subscriptions within a target cost per acquisition.


Between September and December 2016, Facebook video ad campaigns delivered the following results:

  • 66% rise in new subscriptions through video ad campaigns
  • 12% lower cost per subscription than through the static image format
  • 72% lower CPC for video ad format than static image.


The campaign won the Best Paid Social Campaign at the 2017 International Performance Marketing Awards.