Campaign 600


Grand Prix
Best Online Brand: B2B

Haymarket tasked Campaign with making paid content its primary revenue stream because digital subscriptions are stable and recurring. Campaign’s two-tier subscription model, with standard tier The Information and premium tier The Knowledge, had already fuelled double-digit subs growth in prior years, and the team needed to increase revenue again in 2023.

The team focused on an “audience funnel” strategy and selling more corporate licences to big agencies. They created more data-rich content to encourage Information subscribers to upgrade to The Knowledge, and they used audience engagement data to show corporate subscribers were reading more articles to justify price increases.

Campaign broke scoops, including John Lewis’ split with longstanding agency Adam&Eve/DDB and Uncommon’s £120m sale to Havas, and set the agenda with CEO interviews.

Mark Read insisted WPP had not been “slow” to simplify and blamed predecessor Martin Sorrell, which Reuters followed up, while Yannick Bolloré of Havas defended pitching for Shell and was mocked by industry influencer Rob Mayhew in a TikTok spoof.

Ending the quarterly print edition in September allowed the team to concentrate on digital excellence. Special projects such as agency School Reports and Power 100 were designed with Shorthand software and featured beautiful art and photography.

Campaign increased output for The Knowledge with more data journalism to convert high-value subscribers. Highlights included an investigation into non-disclosure agreements, salary and bonus surveys and a monthly data tracker about agency account wins.

Campaign championed Inclusion, holding agencies to account on diversity metrics. Marty Davies, co-CEO of Outvertising, launched monthly column A Queer View and Media For All partnered with Campaign to run the MEFA Awards.

Engaging users at the top of the “funnel” was key. Podcast listens jumped 40%, helped by a new, daily podcast from Cannes Lions, where Campaign showed its pulling power with a beach party for 500 guests.

Campaign innovated in other ways, hosting a sell-out breakfast on generative artificial intelligence for 200 paying delegates and creating branded content, including Christmas Ads Unwrapped, a three-part online TV series, filmed in a studio for Kantar, and one-day conference TV: The Next Episode for The Trade Desk.

Subscriptions increased 24% to £3.1m to become the biggest source of revenue and branded content rose 12% to £1.3m, more than offsetting a planned decline in ad sales from recruitment and the end of print. Total revenues increased 3% to £9.5m and profit 4% to £3.5m in 12 months to December 2023 (source: Campaign financials).

The audience strategy worked as subscriber weighted engagement score, a key internal metric, which measures number of stories and site visits, rose 5% in 2023, accelerating to 10% in Q4 after exiting print and 16% in January 2024 (source: Google Data Studio). Podcast downloads increased 40% year on year to 102,963 listens (source: Acast Insights).

Four-year performance for 2023 versus 2019 underlines the extent of Campaign’s transformation: Subscription revenues grew in each of the last four years , up 107% since 2019. Total revenues climbed 22% and profits surged 77% as the quality of revenues improved - proof that Campaign understands what its 32,000-strong subscriber base of advertising professionals wants.

Matt Bourn, communications director, Advertising Association, said: “Campaign is consistently leading on issues ranging from changing agency business models to the implications of AI and, through effective partnerships with many stakeholders, is shaping the future of UK advertising.”

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