How the FT is using game mechanics to lower subscriber churn
The Financial Times is using game mechanics — assigning points to articles read by consumers — to lower its subscriber churn, reports Lucinda Southern of Digiday.
Southern writes, “In mid-October, the publisher introduced Knowledge Builder to 13 percent of its subscribers, a point-scoring system so readers can keep track of how the FT’s journalism builds their knowledge. The aim of the tool is to encourage engagement, which the FT defines through a combination is frequency, recency and volume of articles per visit.
“Each article has the number of points it’s worth at the top, and at the end, readers will see a progress bar on how their knowledge has grown, plus article recommendations on how to increase their knowledge of some 1,000 topics the FT currently covers.
“The system gives scores on two criteria: how well articles represent the FT’s coverage as a whole, and if they touch on a number of previous points and themes, it will have a higher score. These criteria will recommend readers new to a topic to more explanatory texts covering the key aspects. The second criterion is a novelty for the specific user. If an article covers a lot of what the user has read about, it receives a lower score for that user.
“‘This is our filter-bubble-bursting element of Knowledge Builder,’ said James Webb, group product manager at the Financial Times. ‘It guides the user away from content they have already covered and toward themes they haven’t explored before.'”
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