The Guardian mulls marketing push; eyes other revenue streams

Sarah Homewood
By Sarah Homewood | 14 August 2015
The Guardian: ‘three little pigs’ by Bartle Bogle Hegarty

As The Guardian enters its third year in the the Australian market, the news site is looking at ways to continue to drive its growth, despite the marketplace increasingly growing more crowded.

Managing director Guardian Australia, Ian McClelland, told AdNews the local offering of the UK powerhouse had experienced strong organic growth, but it’s nearing time to take it up a notch.

Be it some unconventional marketing moves or a big campaign, the publisher is looking to ramp up its presence and is having conversations with local creative agencies in the market to work out the best way to do that.

“We are satisfied with our traffic growth and our levels of engagement. Those are all increasing organically, so we’re really happy, but obviously we want to reach more Australians so we’re looking at ways in which to do that,” McClelland said.

“We’ve relied on good editorial, good search, good social and SEO to drive that traffic and I think we’ll start now looking at other ways to market The Guardian further in Australia, and really focus on driving traffic and engagement.”

He explained the business doesn’t have any immediate plans for launching an ad campaign, however, there are plans in the works, which may extend to Australia down the track.

“There may be some guerrilla activity this year, and a larger campaign coming next year; we are talking about it at the moment,” McClelland said. “With Katharine Viner coming in as the new editor-in-chief, David Pemsel becoming the new CEO, there’s lost of exciting ideas that I’ve heard the beginnings of, so hopefully that will be very much in Australia when it comes to fruition.”

Recently, the business officially launched its Masterclasses to tie in with music festival, Splendour in the Grass.

McClelland said despite commercial growth and expansion of brand partnerships having increased revenue by 360%, The Guardian is still looking to grow its alternative revenue streams beyond advertising.

“We’ve spent the last year or so doing a lot of research with our audience and potential audience about the types of things they expect to see in The Guardian; we’re having a look at what’s worked well in the UK and what we can leverage here,” he said.

While McClelland wouldn’t be led on what exactly those other revenue streams would look like, he did note it would be an expansion of products and services that can easily be tied into its membership offering.

“You can see what the membership offering is in the UK, it’s a subscription product,” he said.

“There’s various tiers and you get increasing benefits across those tiers. We will look to replicate that, and some of the products and services we will be offering will be tied into membership, so there will be benefits and discounts if you’re a member on those products and services.”

“If you look at the kind of things that our readers are interested in – live events, art and culture, travel, food and wine - these are the things that our audience are interested in so we’ll play to that demand.”

A version of this story originally appeared in the latest issue of AdNews Magazine (7 August). You've got one week until the next mag drops, so don't miss-out – subscribe right here.

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