Drilling down to measure the quality of audience visits might be trickier than news media companies think. At Financial Times, this is the Big Data that rises to the top, according to Brendan Spain, commercial director and global client relationship director.

Pageviews and hits are different than audiences that keep coming back to your content and perhaps even subscribing, Spain explained at the Big Data for Media Conference in New York City in 2016. 

“FT has always been focused on quality and not necessarily on reaching the largest audience possible in the world,” Spain says. “We provide specicific content that moves markets and that influences powerful political and business executives, and I think we’ve always focused on that.

“At the same time, our new engagement metric — which focuses on recency, frequency, and volume — really provides a North Star for us to make sure we’re all working toward one thing.”

This isn’t necessarily a change at Financial Times, Spain says, but rather more a case of honing everyones attention.

The recency, frequency, and volume metric is “something we’ve all sort of gathered around as being the most important thing as our business goal to reach one million paying subscribers, he says.

Financial Times sells a “time package,” in which it sells ads on a CPH (cost per hour) basis, which “focuses on the highest value impressions, those that are active time on the screen for five seconds plus and ... providing those to marketers for quality opportunity to reach our engage audience. It doesn’t focus on reach or on scale, but it focuses on quality engagement and making sure that your message as a marketer is being seen.”