Público boosts conversion, retention with space for reader interaction with company

By Inês Espojeira

Jornal Público

Lisbon, Portugal


Innovation does not always mean doing something completely different. Sometimes, it is about applying to your strategy to something that brings results to other companies.

This is how Público’s Área de Leitor was born in August of 2021. It’s a digital private area that allows a subscriber or a registrant to autonomously manage their relationship with Público’s newspaper.

Although building a digital client area for the readers may not seem so disruptive, in the Portuguese and European media business, Público’s Área de Leitor is a benchmark.

Público’s Área de Leitor is a digital tool to allow customers to manage their subscriptions autonomously.
Público’s Área de Leitor is a digital tool to allow customers to manage their subscriptions autonomously.

If content is king, data is queen

Área de Leitor gives registrants and subscribers the chance of editing personal data at any time in a simple and intuitive way. And building a strong and evolving database becomes more important each day. With Área de Leitor, Público has been organically — with no communication — increasing the amount of the reader’s personal data we have on file.

The growth is impressive — more than a 17% increase in personal data in four months — and has a significant impact on the day-to-day operation.  Gathering updated personal info is key to personalised communication with our readers.

Better conversion rates

The conversion rate for Área de Leitor is one of the biggest on the entire Web site. Overall, it is in the top five most effective places of conversion and has a better conversion rate than the paywall.

In August, we started giving our subscribers the opportunity to cancel their subscription online in Área de Leitor. Although this was a difficult business decision to make, we designed the cancellation flow very carefully with some arguments that could change the mind of our soon-to-be ex-subscriber. Reminding them of the advantages of subscription or suggesting a more adequate product for them are two examples.

We have been witnessing an interesting retention rate: Approximately one-quarter of the subscribers that start the cancellation process do not finish it.

More autonomy for the reader

One of Público’s strategic priorities for the next couple of years is to become a customer-centric company. This means putting the customer first and at the core of the business to provide a positive experience and build long-term relationships.

Almost one-fifth of our contact centre’s support requests are now completely resolvable in Público’s Área de Leitor. Whenever we get requests for personal/sign-in updates, subscription cancellation, or RGPD management, among others, our customer service team forwards the reader to their personal Área de Leitor.

Personalised recommendations help improve retention.
Personalised recommendations help improve retention.

This brings the reader closer to Público, organically decreases the team response time, and frees them to other key tasks.

Área de Leitor shows a personalised suggestion of newsletters — different content for each reader — according to their prior interaction on site. Público has more than 20 different newsletters (four of them only available for subscribers). In Área de Leitor we suggest three that are more suitable for each reader and this guarantees that readers/subscribers consciously choose newsletters, which increases their engagement rate and decreases the likelihood of churn.

Improving engagement

One out of 10 users in Área de Leitor clicks to read more about at least one of the subscription’s six special advantages. A reader who understands the advantages included in his subscription is more engaged and has less probability to churn.

And this is only the beginning. We continue looking at the data, studying our users’ behaviour, and using user research tools to understand our readers’ needs better.

This means that Público's Área de Leitor will keep growing and launching new features to improve our users’ reading experience.

About Inês Espojeira

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