FAZ Appetizer uses AI to serve up personalised news feeds, increasing engagement

By Paula Felps


Nashville, Tennessee, USA


A steady, round-the-clock news stream means readers can access information any time from virtually any place — 365 days a year. With more than 150 news updates made daily, readers may become overwhelmed or they may not be able to find the stories they’re interested in.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung GmbH in Frankfurt, Germany, wanted to make it easier for readers to cut through the clutter and find the stories most relevant to them. So the company created the FAZ Appetizer, an app that uses machine learning to create personalised news streams for each user. The team knew thatto check all the boxes, the content had to be automated, personalised, and delivered to users instantly.

The FAZ Appetizer was created to accomplish that by using Artificial Intelligence to select the most relevant topics for each user after just two sessions. It does that by anonymously analysing the user’s behaviour, then predicting an appetizer, or story, that fits the user’s individual taste.

An app for all interests

To make the FAZ Appetizer as appealing as possible to various users, it was created with multiple user interface versions. Using the FAZ Discover AI, an algorithm that makes the content easy to locate and consume, it creates an uncomplicated, clear user experience. In developing the app, FAZ had two primary objectives:

  • To increase the relevance of the home page in the first viewports.
  • To increase the rate of registration and density of use for low- and medium-engaged users.
The app is designed to make consuming preferred content easier, therefore creating a better user experience.
The app is designed to make consuming preferred content easier, therefore creating a better user experience.

The FAZ App quickly showed positive results. Because it makes consuming content easier and more enjoyable, the amount of participation on the site quickly grew as users discovered the new app.  

An increased appetite for news

The early results showed a distinct improvement in engagement among users. Readers without the FAZ Appetizer engage in an average of five sessions per month, while those using the app engage in an average of eight sessions per month.

The content appears on the front page, directly after the current top stories, which means the stories readers will most be interested in are appearing in the most relevant area of their news stream. Additional topics or interests can be added at any time and will also become part of the daily personalised news stream.  

Not only has this helped readers gain greater value and enjoyment from the content when engaging via the app, it also has helped drive more users toward the premium subscription model, called FAZ Plus, with a 60% increase in density of use.

About Paula Felps

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