The Athletic


Breaking into new markets and building an overseas subscriber base through a smart PPC strategy

Services: Paid search, Global growth, Localisation

Markets: US, UK, Australia, Canada

The challenge

Subscription-based sports website The Athletic was operating in a saturated market in the US. In order to continue to grow and expand as a business, The Athletic needed to identify new markets for international expansion. This brought on new challenges such as increased investment and the need for continual optimisation at scale.

The Croud difference

Croud and The Athletic worked closely together to break into three large and diverse markets, whilst also continuing activity in the US. The Athletic had big ambitions, and Croud had the expertise to recognise how international expansion would be a strategic growth area.

After digging into their business objectives and profitability metrics, the team presented an international expansion plan to grow market share and expand their paying subscriber base beyond the US, starting out with three English-speaking countries.

Croud launched universal app campaigns (UAC) internationally to direct users into The Athletic’s iOS and Android apps to sign up. Creative is often the variable to success and the team used the new UAC ad groups feature to separate creative by sport and test algorithmically which sports creative resonated the most in each market, allowing for continual optimisation.

The results

Making up almost 15% of The Athletic’s overall investment, within six months the international campaigns launched by Croud contributed to 19% of the company’s app sign-up growth, while achieving low-cost installs. Across markets, the campaign delivered over 36 million impressions, and 31,000 conversions.



Start your journey with Croud