El Universal, a 105-year-old newspaper based in Mexico City with more than 16 million unique monthly visitors to its Web site, wanted to see if it could recreate the behaviour of its loyal subscribers. The goal was to get sleepers and registered users to buy subscriptions.
The team began with a hypothesis that if it e-mailed at-risk users the content that loyal subscribers engaged with the most, it would be possible to move them into the next level of the funnel.
“We created an RFV model,” said Renata Sanchez, digital product manager. “Our segments are champions, loyal, promising, and lost.”
They tracked registered users and subscribers in the following categories:
- Recency: time since last visit.
- Frequency: how many days in a certain period.
- Volume: number of articles.
The first goal was to move 40% of subscribers who were in danger of being lost into the promising category through a weekly e-mail using content that loyal subscribers were consuming. The second goal was to turn 40% of its most loyal registered users into subscribers through similar weekly e-mails.
“We know who the user is,” Sanchez said. “What is their preferred section, article, preferred day, time of consumption, and different events, and behaviour actions with Google Analytics events?”
Deploying the RFV model went as expected, but they didn’t get cloud automatisation to work, Sanchez said: “What we tried was a manual test — ctually we just did two that were very focused because everything was manual. In the next test step, we hope to scale automatisation, and we could do more tests and be more efficient.”
The team was able to map out some user journeys and tested their actions against certain audience segments. Then, it used the data as a jumping-off point for sending e-mails.
“What really happened was the e-mail strategy was effective in awakening sleeper subscribers, but we sent just four e-mails for subscribers and four for registered users,” Sanchez said.
Even though the test base is small, El Universal saw some promising results that encouraged it to keep going.
“We tested different times, subject lines, and call to actions,” Sanchez said. “For registered ones, we generated a special offer and we tried messages like, ‘You are just a step away from getting the best content.’”
- 77 subscribers who were at risk of being lost moved up into the next funnel level of “promising.”
- Four subscribers moved to the loyal segment.
- 14 loyal registered users bought subscriptions.
“These are very small numbers, but we are happy with them because maybe we wouldn’t have gotten them if we didn’t do anything,” Sanchez said. El Universal is working on new ideas among data, subscriptions, editorial, and marketing teams.
“We are going to try this A/B test with different variables,” Sanchez said. “Narrow the segments even more with different variables to see what really drives engagement.”
El Universal will try different designs, more compelling messages to describe journalistic value, different days, hours, and subject lines. It will also work to increase the number of registered users by increasing its newsletter database.
This case study originally appeared in the INMA report, The Benefits and Risks of Media Data Democratisation.