Overview of this campaign
The Financial Times’ engagement metric is a company wide objective that puts data at the forefront of business decisions, newsroom development and unifies our priorities as an organisation. We already use data to influence and make decisions across most aspects of the business, therefore our objective for 2015 was to extended our application of data to solve the business challenge of increasing our paid for readership.
Given the lack of out-of-the-box solutions that measure long term loyalty, our customer analytics team created a unique metric, combining three different strands of data, to help us determine how engaged our readers are, and therefore how we can increase their engagement with FT content. Extending our analysis beyond traffic and clicks gave us a better idea of reader behaviour and allowed us to improve our understanding of what drives long term customer loyalty.
We now measure reader engagement by the number of visits readers make to FT.com, when they last visited the site, and the time they spend with articles. Monitoring all three of these dimensions provides us with a rounded view of their engagement, but also diagnoses when users become more or less engaged. An engaged reader, per our definition, is someone who has visited FT.com at least in the last week, visits on average twice per week, and consumes on average eight pieces of counted content per month.
We have used the engagement metric to help shape our product development, particularly for Next FT, our new website. Within the Next team, we have a group specifically focused on driving frequency of use among subscribers, one of our key metrics.
We galvanised everyone in the business with a monthly engagement champion award to recognise team and individual contributions towards our engagement goals. The winners receive a prize as well as recognition directly from the CEO and Board, and further promotion across the business.
Results for this campaign
Since the launch of our engagement metric in January 2015, we have seen significant impacts across the business. We regularly test our subscribers on Next to ensure that our product development is improving their engagement, and so far we have seen a 19% uplift in engagement when people start using the new site.
We now fully understand the strong correlation between reader engagement and revenue, which enhances the commercial utility of our metric. It has allowed us to make commercial decisions about improving the user experience on our site and increasing customer satisfaction - which otherwise we would have struggled to put revenues on.
Our engagement metric has helped us drive a record 750,000 paid subscribers through a better understanding of how to reach new customers and retain our existing subscriber base. We set ourselves stretching targets for engagement in 2015 that we smashed by more than 5%.
In conclusion, this data-powered initiative provides a powerful focus for the whole company, enabling us to combine efforts and expertise around a clear and effective priority. It helps us to build, measure and understand our audience, ensuring consistent attention to the reader experience and supporting our commercial targets.