World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers

Playing with Data: Lessons from The Financial Times, The Times/Sunday Times, United Daily News

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World News Publishing Focus
Your Guide to the Changing Media Landscape

Playing with Data: Lessons from The Financial Times, The Times/Sunday Times, United Daily News

How the FT is growing female readership through AI & data intelligence

Lindsay Nicol, Lead Editorial Analyst of The Financial Times (UK), provided insights into how the FT engaged more female readers, an audience demographic that once considered the publication disconnected and aloof. By tapping into data, FT increased engagement from this demographic by 33 per cent and traffic by 7 per cent.

As the FT does not collect gender or age data, the team started by inferring the gender of readers from data analytics, which showed that female readers were interested in topics such as management, gender politics and, surprisingly, the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID) regulation designed to bring transparency to European markets.

Based on these insights, the FT increased effective reach by diversifying its homepage content and images. The latter was achieved through creating an AI resource dubbed Janetbot which scans images on the publication’s website to assign in the images’ subjects a gender and emotion. It then recommends changes, where needed, to the photos used to make them more diverse. Ms Nicol noted that male readership did not decline during the campaign to promote female readership.

AI to drive subscriptions

Ben Whitelaw, Head of Audience Development at The Times and The Sunday Times (UK), shared how a shift in their strict paywall strategy to two free articles per week yielded three million new users, with 40,000 converting to new digital subscriptions on the back of a 70 per cent increase in web traffic and 20 per cent increase in smartphone app visits.

The Times and The Sunday Times also consciously used data insights to publish content at the peak readership times of 9am, 12 noon and 5pm. They also stopped offering breaking news as a conscious strategy to focus on readers who read their publications for analyses on why major news events occurred, leaving breaking news to Twitter and broadcasters like the BBC.

Intelligence Beyond Data - Unlock the potential of audience engagements

Anson Mok, General Manager, Data Development, United Daily News, Taiwan provided a detailed walkthrough on how UDN captures, tracks and uses 900 attributes from 30 million monthly active users to target audience segments by providing content of value and meaning to different niches. UDN also helps advertisers increase their open rates to 25 per cent while spending less per campaign through better targeting of audiences.

Mr Mok delved below the tip of the data intelligence iceberg to discuss how the architecture, workflow and form factor issues are addressed by technologists. This enables them to capture and consolidate data from multiple sources to create deep audience profiles that are then shared with advertisers to help them optimise the return on their investment. UDN’s holistic approach in serving advertisers even extends to supporting them with third-party platform placements. UDN also uses machine learning to analyse audience behavior upon engagements and drive higher revenues for the company and advertisers.

(Edited by Tom Benner)




Joon Nie Lau's picture

Joon Nie Lau


2018-06-07 08:53

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