A ‘Big Jump’ in Digital Newspaper Subscriptions Post Election and New AdWords Improvements Come for Black Friday

An uptick in digital newspaper subscriptions seen by major publications since the U.S. presidential election 

Major newspapers approached the U.S. presidential election in an interesting way. Some of these newspapers, like The New York Times and The Washington Post, took their paywalls down. Others, like The Wall Street Journal, decided to keep its paywall up, and it paid off.

According to an article from Poynter, “The Wall Street Journal saw its daily digital subscriber rate shoot way up during and after Election Day. On Tuesday, double the usual number signed up, Vanneck-Smith said. On Wednesday, The Journal saw triple the usual rate. By Thursday, it had quadrupled. By Friday, the Journal was on pace to notch its biggest-ever week for new digital subscriptions.”

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Katie Vanneck-Smith, Chief Customer Officer and Global Managing Director of Dow Jones, talked more about the publication’s paywall strategy. “She attributed the subscriber bump and increased readership to The Wall Street Journal’s new paywall strategy, which gives non-subscribers a 24-hour “guest pass” that enables them to read articles on WSJ.com. The tweaked paywall also lets non-subscribers read articles shared by subscribers on social media and allows some stories to be “unlocked” by Journal editors.”

The Boston Globe and The New York Times also saw increases of their digital subscribers post election, reports Subscription Insider. “Linda Pizzuti Henry, managing director at Boston Globe and wife of owner John Henry, tweeted that new digital subscriptions rose 66 percent in the 10 days following the presidential election, compared to the 10 days prior.”

The Times, interestingly enough, took down its paywall for 72 hours during the election and still saw major upticks in subscribers after putting it back up. This act showed an emphasis on independent journalism and the quality of the website’s content.

The Times reports, “Despite president-elect Donald Trump’s assertion that The Times is “losing thousands of subscribers,” the New York Times is alive and well. In fact, according to KTVQ, the New York Times added 41,000 paid subscriptions – print and digital combined – in the week following the election.”

The publication also offered a live event the night of the election, which may have impacted subscriber numbers too. “The New York Times also hosted Election Night Live, a $250-per-person live event that included live commentary on election night results as well as hot topics of the day from New York Times’ editors, reporters and columnists, as well as special guests…By hosting the event as part of its live conference series, the Times took the opportunity to more deeply engage with readers.”

In addition to the digital subscription numbers being released, we’re seeing Google AdWords releasing stats and improvements ahead of Black Friday.

Search Engine Watch reported on these changes, including location extensions. “…if you use the location extension you can see a distance report that will show store visits based on how far away people are from your store when they search.”

Here’s an interesting data point reported by Search Engine Land: “76% of people search for something nearby on their smartphone visit a related business within a day.”

Find more Black Friday stats in the article from Search Engine Watch.

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