How we partnered with The Independent to drive 236% subscriber growth across web and mobile

A bit about The Independent

Launched in 1986, The Independent added a fresh voice to the UK media landscape, and has since grown to be one of the world’s most read news sites, with over 80 million readers a month visiting its site and apps.

Why did we enter the frame?

The Independent set themselves the objective to build and grow a premium news subscription business to provide readers with exclusive content in a completely ad-free experience. The challenges this presented were varied, for example:

  • There was no digital strategy to support a subscription business
  • The analytics weren’t in place to provide the necessary data and insights
  • The mobile marketing & App Store Optimisation strategies were rudimentary
  • And there was no performance partner who could execute the campaigns to drive growth

How we’ve supported

Our ultimate goal was to become a performance partner for The Independent’s subscription business, being accountable for its growth and success. To achieve this we worked from the Independent’s offices in close collaboration with their teams to deliver services that would be essential to support growth.



Marketing is at the heart of the solution we’ve offered:

  • We produced a full end-to-end forecast for the business including all the levers from paid media to conversion optimisation
  • We developed a paid media strategy that complemented The Independent’s audience growth strategy
  • Our team managed key channels including: PPC, Paid Social, Native ads, Audio ads and Programmatic Display



Good analytics is essential to support an effective performance marketing team. The Independent’s analytics set-up was tailored to the editorial and sales teams’ needs, but not a subscription marketing team. We supported in three key ways:

  • Led the set-up of Adobe Analytics to meet the new business requirements
  • Led the set-up of Appsflyer to enable accurate mobile attribution
  • Produced a set of dashboards that underpin the subscription team’s weekly trading meetings



Within the mobile marketing brief, App Store Optimisation required close coordination with the product team to align release schedules. Additionally, we’ve worked closely with The Independent’s product team on the onboarding flow of the Independent Premium app to improve the experience of new users opening the app for the first time.


We know from our experience in publishing that close alignment between marketing and editorial leads to greater performance: so we plan around the editorial schedule to ensure that our creative across all paid and owned channels reflects The Independent’s key editorial themes at all times.

The results


Increase in subscriber base


Growth in monthly acquisition YoY


Decrease in marketing CPA

The full testimonial

“In Digital were hired as our Performance Marketing agency in 2019 to support the B2C ventures of The Independent and London Evening Standard. As a business we are proactively diversifying our revenue streams through subscriptions, e-commerce and events and therefore it was vital to have strong expertise and a thorough understanding of performance media within our new marketing team. InDigital offer a wealth of services for us and their other clients spanning from media planning to programmatic to remarketing and so much more. They have a highly effective team, led by experienced Account Directors with channel specialists managing our campaigns day to day including PPC, Paid social and mobile advertising.

Throughout my career it has always been difficult to ensure agencies work towards the same business objectives and in my experience there is often lack of accountability in hitting these but the approach In Digital have taken is a breath of fresh air, their team is based on location, attending our team meetings and briefings together and formulating strategies and tactics on the ground to drive performance, often with little direction and delivered of their own accord. We’ve received endless strategic and business development support with the Senior team assisting us with complex modelling and forecasting, establishing a mobile acquisition strategy, suggesting a suitable path for CRO, the list goes on. We’ve achieved so much in a short space of time and I’m confident in saying we wouldn’t have achieved the success we have without their involvement and support.

I believe In Digital is one of the most effective and comprehensive performance agencies in the business. They understand and cater for our unique requirements time and time again and the service and output we receive is second to none. I have had the privilege of being one of InDigital’s first clients and to say I am impressed is an understatement, I would wholeheartedly recommend In Digital for you and your business.”


Katerina Broster
Head of Marketing, ESI Media

Reach out to one of our team to learn more about our services and how we can help your business thrive.