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L’Équipe: limiting churn when increasing the price from a highly discounted subscription offer

L'Equipe is an emblematic French sports newspaper with a daily digital readership of 2.5 million, and over 200,000 subscribers to its paid digital offer. Romain Lhote, CMO, spoke at  and Workshop in London this June about their  strategy whilst increasing their  offer price.

Highly discounted promotional subscription offers are valuable for allowing readers to discover your product, build , increase content consumption and ultimately acquire a larger audience who will hopefully remain subscribed far into the future. But, of course, you have to return your subscription price back to normal at some point…

This is what happened to the sports daily newspaper, L'Equipe (which has 1.5 billion page views a month, just to give you an idea…), when they sold thousands of subscriptions at €2.24 a month (instead of €12) in celebration of the 1000 day run-up to the Paris Olympics.

The huge discount ends this summer, just before the Olympics. And of course, the L'Équipe team is putting in the work to ensure the subscribers who notice the price change don't immediately.

So, how can we limit the damage? Poool's team arrived with a few ideas to orchestrate a churn-prevention strategy, that marketers at L'Équipe have now made their own.

Their goal: Set up on-site user journeys that will enable them to maximize retention rates for those “flash” offers subscribers.

1. Split the project into phases, building a retro planning of actions to be accomplished before the planned price-change date

L'Equipe retention journey after increasing the subscription price

2. Define the type of actions that maximize reader engagement & loyalty

For instance, the team at L'Equipe found that subscribers who download their , are subscribed to certain newsletters, or read a certain type of long-form content are more loyal than others.

Therefore, they decided to start with 4 simple Poool Engage widgets:

Action #1: Show on-site banners with a 1-click newsletter subscription

Pop-up to promote L'Équipe's newsletter

The display settings

Format:Display rules:
Sticky banner, top of screenShow 10 times maximum
One-click subscriptionOnly on article pages
“Close” option availableBoth web mobile & desktop

> Also from The Audiencers' Festival: The Guardian: reader revenue growth & proposition development

Action #2: Suggest mobile app download

Sticky banner to promote the app, both light and dark appearance

The display settings

Format:Display rules:
Sticky banner, bottom of screenCapped to 3 times max every
7 days
Redirect to Apple or Android appstoreOnly on article pages
“Ignore” option availableOnly on web mobile

Action #3: Announce which content is about the get released

Announce which content is about to be released on L'Équipe

The display settings

Format:Display rules:
Sticky banner, top of screenCapped to once per day
FoldableShow 10 times maximum
No redirection, no linkOnly on home pages

Action #4: Invite readers to join their WhatsApp channel

Invite readers to join L'Équipe's whatsapp channel

Because the team at L'Équipe knows that their members will stay subscribed for longer, they launched a pop-in promoting it, for subscribers only.

The display settings

Format:Display rules:
ToasterShow once per week
“Close” option availableOnly on articles pages
Only on web mobile

Action #5: Warn churned users that they soon won't have access to this content

Warn churned users that they soon won't have access to this content

The display settings

Format:Display rules:
Sticky banner, bottom of screenShow 10 times maximum
“Close” option availableOnly on articles pages
Both web mobile & desktop

Originally built for at-risk subscribers, these strategies have been progressively deployed for all subscriber cohorts.