Personalised Your Globe feature informed by data, increases engagement

By Garth Thomas

The Globe and Mail

Toronto, Ontario, Canada


As part of being a data-driven organisation, teams at The Globe and Mail build features by constantly iterating on our current products and testing their value to readers. One feature we’ve been working on, Your Globe, is currently rolling out on The Globe’s Web site and has been over a year in the making.

Your Globe came out of an idea to create an easier way for subscribers to find stories they wouldn’t want to miss. It was originally launched as a “following” feature. Readers could first follow topics and then also writers to create a personally curated reading list.

Your Globe was added to the navigation bar so readers could find it more easily.
Your Globe was added to the navigation bar so readers could find it more easily.

The current iteration of Your Globe is a result of changes we made after conducting interviews last June to understand how to improve the following feature for readers.

Feedback and solutions

We found that the original name, Following, wasn’t engaging. We addressed this by renaming this personalised area Your Globe (which is also more in line with our brand) and then validated it with readers.

Additionally, the dedicated Following page was physically distant and separate from the readers’ usual Globe experience. It forced them to bounce from the home page to the Following page to articles of interest and back again.

After testing various solutions, we placed Your Globe on the top navigation menu. This menu location is consistent throughout our site. As a result, it can be accessed by readers from any page, reducing friction and increasing ease of use.

Finally, readers simply didn’t see the feature and it lacked discoverability. This was obviously an issue, so in addition to including Your Globe on the top navigation bar, the team created a Your Globe overlay, an easy-to-use, pop-open module that also provided more value to the reader.

This feature displayed the latest five stories from the reader’s personal feed, and it excluded articles the reader had already read or seen. It also notified readers when a new story was published and present in their personal feed with a green dot.


We launched the Your Globe overlay in November 2020 to 20% of our audience as a test. We found reader engagement metrics are 25% higher for people who use the Your Globe features. This positive experience was confirmed through more interviews.

Currently, 65% of our readers have access to the overlay, and we expect to get to 100% by the end of the quarter. Subscribers who are following topics and/or authors have an 80% higher engagement score compared to other subscribers.

As we ramp up exposure, our next goal will be to increase awareness and adoption of the feature through targeted on-site onboarding.

About Garth Thomas

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