20% Increase in Subscribers for Forbes Magazine

read case study


Increase in paid subscribers YoY


Increase in PPC traffic


New ad channels introduced


Increase in overall subscriptions YoY


Forbes Magazine is an American business magazine, which has been in circulation for over 100 years. The magazine features original articles on finance, industry, investing, marketing topics and more. They are known worldwide for their Forbes lists such as “World’s Billionaires”, “30 Under 30”, and “Most Innovative Companies”. You can subscribe today for only $20 for one year of Forbes Magazine.


  • Subscriber Growth
  • Forbes Magazine’s primary goal was to increase the total number of subscribers to the magazine. 
  • Increase paid subscriptions.
  • Not only did we want to increase subscriptions, we wanted to focus on keeping our order production up while getting more of the orders paid for upfront.


  • The print industry as a whole has seen a decline in subscriptions.
  • “Total sales for all audited consumer magazines — which make up about 65% of total newsstand sales — fell to 169 million in the second half of 2017, a decline of nearly 12 million units from the same period in 2016, when 181 million units were sold.” - Forbes.com
  • In an age where subscriptions in magazines are declining, we needed to find the right audience to focus on. Our challenge was to set ourselves apart from other business magazines to promote our brand as the only magazine worth paying for.
  • Lack of content exclusivity
  • Since Forbes Magazine no longer has exclusive content, we had to find a way to appeal to an audience that wanted Forbes Magazine for an entirely different reason. Forbes Magazine articles are now almost entirely offered online at Forbes.com. Forbes Magazine struggled to find a way to position the product and to answer the question of why a consumer would choose to purchase the magazine as opposed to reading the articles online.


  • Find the right audience.
  • Without exclusive content, we needed to position Forbes as a right of passage. 
  • Creative Display Ad Concept

We created a display ad with the tagline “Get your name on the cover of Forbes”, showing your name on the cover because you ordered the mail subscription. The idea behind this is that every person strives to become successful in their industry. Getting your name on the cover of Forbes, brings attention to the fact that you can become successful if you read Forbes magazine. It also plants the idea in the consumers mind that the magazine is powerful and influential, and to have your name on the cover is a tremendous honor.

Video Appeals To A New Audience

Our strategy with creating video content for Forbes Magazine was to appeal to a new wave of college graduates. Although this is not the typical Forbes reader, we wanted to inspire the new generation to associate Forbes with a magazine that is hip and prestigious. Not only that, we were able to differentiate ourselves by focusing on the key values Forbes brings to the table and to use a medium that appeals to a younger audience. Video is the new wave of communication with Facebook, Instagram and YouTube and we are now able to partake in this form of advertising.

We also noticed that the majority of video content is focused around the online presence of magazines. However, we wanted to be one of the first to market in the magazine industry with a video online to advertise the print version of the magazine. Video allowed us to bring more attention to how print is adapting to today’s world and the benefits of having a subscription. Video allowed us to build on the fact that Forbes is one of the most trusted magazines in America and to bolster that reputation to focus on magazine subscriptions.

Although we can assume most people know what Forbes is, we wanted to bring more awareness to our inexpensive subscription prices. After creating the display and video ads to show how prestigious the Forbes brand is, why wouldn’t anyone want to have the subscription for only $20 a year? For a younger audience or someone who is looking for a job, this low fee can be a deciding factor in purchasing the subscription.

Our video production team created the following video for Forbes to be used in programmatic display, Facebook and YouTube campaigns:

PPC Optimization

We grew our audience to focus on a broader age range, income level and gender. Although we had preconceived notions about who our target was, we were able to test the waters to expand upon that audience.

We expanded beyond brand keywords into middle of the funnel traffic focused on magazine subscriptions. When we took over the account, the only subscriptions were coming from keywords containing Forbes. Targeting magazine subscriptions and business magazine subscriptions allowed us to expand our subscription base.

Audience lists helped us to reach a more targeted audience as well. We utilized customer lists to target previous subscribers to renew their subscription. Users who took advantage of the free issues offer but did not turn into a paid subscriber were also added to an audience list for retargeting.

Forbes advertises free online newsletters, separate from the magazine. The content in each newsletter is offered for a limited time and is related to a specific topic such as "stocks to buy in 2019". In order to access this content, you have to enter your email and the newsletter is sent straight to your inbox. We were able to take these emails and retarget them with Forbes Magazine ads as well.

Display was not a channel Forbes Magazine utilized in the past, but we were able to use targeted audiences such as avid news readers to put our brand in front of the user more often. We were also able to retarget to our previous website visitors with display ads.

We created a display ad with the tagline “Get your name on the cover of Forbes”, showing your name on the cover because you ordered the mail subscription. The strategy behind this campaign is that every person strives to become successful in their industry, to one day have their own feature in such an influential magazine.

As part of our discovery campaign, we included an ad featuring Warren Buffet reading Forbes Magazine.


  • As a result of our PPC efforts and new initiatives, we have been able to increase subscriptions 69% YoY. 
  • Not only were we able to increase overall subscriptions, we were able to increase the amount of paid subscriptions by 20% YoY as well.
  • 2 new advertising channels introduced
  • 102% increase in PPC traffic (31% increase in Branded traffic)

Request A Marketing Proposal

We'll get back to you within a day to schedule a quick strategy call. We can also communicate over email if that's easier for you.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Visit Us

New York
1074 Broadway
Woodmere, NY

1617 John F. Kennedy Blvd
Philadelphia, PA

333 Las Olas Way
Fort Lauderdale, Florida

General Inquiries

(516) 218-3722

AdVenture Education

Over 290,000 marketers from around the world have leveled up their skillset with AdVenture premium and free resources. Whether you're a CMO or a new student of digital marketing, there's something here for you.


We wrote the #1 bestselleling book on performance advertising

Named one of the most important advertising books of all time.

buy on amazon

DOLAH '22.
Stream Now

Over ten hours of lectures and workshops from Day of Learning and Happiness, live from NYC.

check out dolah

The AdVenture Academy

Resources, guides, and courses for digital marketers, CMOs, and students. Brought to you by the agency chosen by Google to train Google's top Premier Partner Agencies.

Bundles & All Access Pass

Over 100 hours of video training and 60+ downloadable resources

view bundles →

Downloadable Guides

60+ resources, calculators, and templates to up your game.

view guides →