By Gwenneth Teo

Although Dagens Næringsliv’s coverage of financial news was comprehensive and credible, it had failed to connect to this younger readership despite various efforts such as providing free access to their site to students at universities in Norway as well as a half-price offer for anyone younger than 33 years old.

Marit Tronier Halvorsen, Head of Target Groups at DN Media Group, shared with delegates at WAN-IFRA’s Digital Media Asia conference, how they managed to attract a sizeable new audience with a stock market game.

Before introducing gamification, DN had also tried to build their young audience by conducting user insights, adjusting their news coverage and the aforementioned discounts and free access for university students. However, they were still struggling to attract younger readers to their platforms.

Lockdowns led to creation of Fantasy Funds game

During the COVID-19 lockdowns, the DN team realised there was an increasing trend in stocks and investment among younger people. There was also increased traffic to DN’s market platform, DN Investor.

Therefore, DN tapped into the youth’s interest in games to create Fantasy Funds in 2020, an award-winning game that replicates the stock market. It aimed to teach young people about saving and investment in an entertaining and engaging way.

Users can use virtual money to invest in stock exchanges, where they can build their funds and portfolio. They can also compete against friends. The core strategy of the game is its easy set up and onboarding process.

No prior knowledge of investing is required and the game is free to download. As players registered their data, DN got to understand the youth demographic better. Lastly, DN’s articles were incorporated into the game, and social media was used to reach the target group.

Game driving registrations and millions of page views

After five seasons of the game, it has produced astounding results that have yet to be replicated in other DN initiatives. There were peaks of users younger than 35 visiting the DN website when new seasons of Fantasy Funds were launched, with DN converting nearly 35,000 players into registered DN readers.

The game also generated 11.7 million page views for DN’s online site.

DN’s long-term strategy was to attract younger readers and convert them into paying subscribers. In the short term, they took advantage of the game to encourage players to subscribe to their newspaper.

As part of the gameplay, players already receive weekly newsletters, written by DN journalists, that discuss weekly happenings in the game. This newsletter has one of the highest readerships among DN’s initiatives. A satisfactory 5 percent of players were converted into subscribers per season in the game.

DN’s advertising also seeing benefits

Fantasy Funds also successfully attracts advertisers who also want to reach the youth demographic. Besides in-game ads, prize sponsorships are given out by advertisers who have deals with DN.

Besides cultivating a youth readership, DN remains ready to attract subscribers in the future — in line with their goal of cultivating lifelong relationships with their viewers.

As DN is a premium newspaper, young readers may be discouraged by its high subscription fee. However, as these readers become working adults and begin subscribing to newspapers, DN ensures they are readily positioned to be the top choice for them.

About the author: Gwenneth Teo is a Communication Studies student at NTU’s Wee Kim Wee School of Information and Communication

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