Overview of this campaign
The overall objective of this project was to increase the proportion of female clickthrough rate to FT stories from the homepage, social media, and the First FT daily briefing newsletter. Analysis and customer research around our women FT readers show that they are reading less of our content and visiting less compared to men, and they are also time poor. By promoting the article in the First FT daily briefing, we’re targeting time sensitive readers. And by promoting on the homepage and in social media, we would target women who wouldn’t normally visit our site.
We also wanted to increase the engagement of our women readers. Analysis has shown that our average female subscriber is disengaged from the FT’s content, and this year the FT has been focussing particularly around increasing engagement of our current subscribers. We measure reader engagement using an FT-wide metric called RFV, which calculates the recency of a user’s last visit to the FT website, how frequently they visit, and the volume of articles they consume during their visits.
In order to accomplish these goals, our first challenge was to accurately pick stories before publication that would appeal to women. This was facilitated using a real time Chartio Dashboard that highlighted high performing articles that also over-indexed with women. Editors used this dashboard to decide which future pieces might do well as a Project XX story.
Results for this campaign
The Project XX results have been really positive. All 60 articles chosen for Project XX attracted a higher than average proportion of female readers across all traffic source types. The average Project XX article outperformed the FT average, with a higher percentage of female pageviews (21% vs 15% all FT average). The average Project XX story also generated a higher proportion of female clickthroughs from the home page (17% vs FT avg of 14%), social media (24% vs 16%) and the First FT email (24% vs 18%) .
In addition, those reading Project XX articles were more engaged than the average female FT subscriber; and, after reading their first Project XX article, their engagement not only increased, but was sustained for up to 4 weeks after reading the Project XX article.
From the success of this experiment, Project XX has now become a newsroom-wide strategy and is widely adopted across all Editorial desks. We have even added some related experiments, including:
Measuring the effect that images of women on the homepage have on female clickthrough with the production of JanetBot - a bot which scans our homepage & feeds back live information of how many pictures of women are currently on the homepage
Understanding whether there is a correlation between the gender of the author and female page views
Finding a way to make our comments section a friendlier environment for women.