How Scientias.nl Gets 200,000 Sessions Monthly? [Case Study]

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Here is how a Dutch news website Scientias.nl gets 200,000 sessions monthly from push notifications

Building a website readership is among the top challenges for bloggers and publishers. They have to foresee which content will hit the mark and correspond to readers’ interest. Plus, they need ways to stay in touch with readers and to inform them about the published content.

The following case study shows how web push notifications help meet these publishers’ needs.

The hero of the article is a popular-science website Scientias.nl with more than 1,5 million Dutch readers. The website team has been using push notifications by the Gravitec.net push service for more than one year. And you will find how they utilize push notifications and the results they get.

Meet Scientias.nl

  • About Scientias.nl. The website publishes scientific articles and interviews about our planet and technologies in Dutch.
  • They started using Gravitec.net in March 2021.
  • Team. Three scientific journalists and a developer/marketer do all of the work for the blog. 
  • Main goals. The Scientias team’s goal is to create useful content and to attract and retain readers to grow their website audience. Their additional aim is to generate revenue to maintain the blog and pay salaries to journalists.
  • Marketing channels. Push notifications, Facebook, Instagram, email marketing, Google News, Google Discover, Twitter, Flipboard, Upday, Squid.
  • Sources of traffic. Google Analytics statistics by Q1 2021 show three main sources, which are direct traffic (31%), organic traffic (29%), and push notifications (8%). 
  • Sources of revenue. Advertising makes up 70% of the company’s revenue. Another 30% of the revenue comes from partnering with companies, affiliate marketing, and fees for the reuse of content by publishers.

Why Push Notifications

As for any publisher, for Scientias.nl it is crucial to attract readers and build a loyal audience which means converting visitors into regular readers. That is to say, their needs are to attract traffic and increase the number of repeat visits.

Channels involved to meet these needs were email marketing, social media like Facebook and Instagram, and tools for publishers like Google News, Google Discover, Twitter, Flipboard, Upday, Squid. Emails with an open rate of 60% showed good results in building a loyal audience, however, it was insufficient for ensuring a wide readership.

The Facebook and Instagram ad brought high-cost traffic, and few repeat visits. Tools for publishers added to overall traffic but not as much as were expected. So, there was still a gap to fill in a means of getting repeat visits.

This led Scientias.nl to a decision to try a new channel — web push notifications. Advantages of this tool for publishers over others are that it attracts a lot of traffic for a little price, allows to quickly grow the subscription base, and sends notifications that pop up on a subscriber device even if a subscriber isn’t on a website.

Another reason to make a try was the popularity of the channel among publishers. More than 20,000 websites with over 1 million traffic use web push and roughly 20% of all websites with push notifications are online media and publishers. 

Initially, the Scientias company geared their website with push notifications by WebPushr, but in March 2021 they purchased the Gravitec.net lifetime deal on AppSumo for a better price. (The Gravitec AppSumo deal is still available, so take it on board if you’re looking for a world-class push service for an affordable price.) As they found the Gravitec service trustworthy and stable, it was quite easy and safe to switch.

How Scientias uses Gravitec.net

The Gravitec service was implemented using the WordPress plugin with a 1-click installation. Scientias has a greenish permission prompt that is centered on the top of the page. Its delay time is 5 seconds, which means that a user sees a prompt after spending 5 seconds on the website. The prompt text is quite simple – “Do you want to receive the latest science news immediately?” (translated from Dutch).

How Scientias uses Gravitec

 

Let’s see how it results in subscriptions. 

How Scientias uses Gravitec result in subscription

In March 2021, the total number of new subscribers was 24,068 which is roughly equivalent to an opt-in rate of 2,8%. In the next four months, there was a drastic increase in subscriptions by up to 45%. As for July 2022, the total number of subscribers is roughly 77,000 (the total from two Scientias accounts).

Scientias automatically sends 3-5 campaigns a day informing subscribers about new articles on a website. Campaigns are sent from the WordPress dashboard immediately after publishing a new post which is possible due to the RSS-to-Push automation. Once the Scientias.nl team publishes an article, the RSS to Push automation pulls the headline, lead text, the main image, and the URL from the article, adds this to a push notification, and sends it right away. Here is an example of a notification from Scientias that is delivered through the Chrome browser.

example of a notification from Scientias that is delivered through the Chrome browser

Scientias sends campaigns to all subscribers without using any segmentation for targeted campaigns. Even without segmentation, the average click-through rate for all sent campaigns is 4,44%. The overall statistics on a screenshot show the number of sends, delivers, seen, and opened notifications from March 2021.

Scientias sends campaigns to all subscribers

Now, in the table below, you can see how these campaign results are reflected on monthly traffic stats in Google Analytics. It shows that Gravitec.net brings 88% of all returning visitors for Scientias.nl, 55.647 unique visitors, and almost 1,8 million sessions.

The returning visitor percentage for all visitors is 26% which is much lower.

Scientias case study

Next, you can see how the number of visitors and sessions has been growing since the company started using Gravitec. The graph below shows that each unique user visits the website 10 times per month.

scientias graph below shows that each unique user visits the website 10 times per month.

On top of that, the Scientias team uses push notifications not only to increase return traffic but also to complement other marketing channels like emails and social media. By using push notifications statistics, they check which articles are more in demand among readers, then post these articles on social platforms and send them in emails. Push notifications with higher click rates perform better in the Facebook feed and in the newsletter.

Scientias’s favorite Gravitec features

  • The Gravitec.net WordPress plugin (allows automatically sending notifications from the dashboard).
  • RSS to Push automation (creates and sends notifications from the RSS feed and allows to set an interval between automatic notifications).
  • Daily/weekly digest (automatically sends top daily/weekly news in one notification).

What the Scientias team says

Tim Kraaijvanger is an online marketer in Scientias.nl, and here is what he says about the results they get from using push notifications.

“In 3 months an average push subscriber visits our website 19 times. In 6 months an average push subscriber visits our website 32 times. We only count clicks on push notifications. It is possible that a user visits our site more often, for instance on a different device or via another medium (f.i. Facebook). Gravitec is responsible for 8% of all our sessions on our website in Q4 2021. Only direct traffic (31%) and organic (29%) perform better. Other important sources for us as a publisher – like Google News, Facebook, Flipboard, Upday, Squid, and Instagram – yield fewer visitors. Maybe even more important: thanks to Gravitec we get hundreds of thousands of additional page views each month and therefore earn more revenue with our ads (I think push notifications are responsible for 5% of all revenue). We can’t thank Gravitec enough for their great product and their service!”‘

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Summary

Let’s sum up all of the statistics mentioned in this article to see the whole picture.

  • Push notifications are responsible for 88% of all returning visitors to the website.
  • Gravitec.net brings 8% of the overall website traffic and takes third place in the rating of the website’s most effective traffic sources.
  • Scientias.nl sends 3-5 push campaigns per week
  • The average push notifications click-through-rate is 4,44%
  • An average push subscriber visits the website 19 times in three months.
  • Each unique user visits the website 10 times per month since pushes were set up.
  • Gravitec.net is responsible for roughly 5% of overall ad revenue taking the number of return visits with pushes.

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Anastasiia Moskvichova

Anastasiia Moskvichova is a content writer and an editor of the Gravitec.net company's blog that contains articles about digital marketing, push notifications, and email marketing. She has been in SEO and content marketing for more than five years, and passionately shares her experience as well as the expertise of the Gravitec.net team with readers of other marketing blogs.

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