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WSJ looks at product testing to grow subscribers

October 30, 2018

Posted by Chris Roush

The Wall Street Journal has ramped up product testing, partly through a six-person optimization team that works on 12 different products across the Journal and Barron’s, up from six at the end of 2017, reports Max Willens of Digiday.

Willens reports, “When the team launched with two people in 2015, it was focused purely on improving subscriber conversions at the Journal and the following year at Barron’s. By 2017, it had started working on other outcomes like increasing consumption. After the team scored several subscription wins, it started working this year on improving time spent on site, subscriber retention and event attendance. It runs dozens of tests a month on tasks like getting more email newsletter registrations.

“‘Digital experimentation is something you can do anywhere,’ said Peter Gray, the Journal’s vp of optimization.

“The optimization team looks for ways to make small changes that impact the largest possible audience. That strategy is girded by simple math: A product change that’s seen by 5 percent of a publication’s audience needs to improve outcomes by 200 percent to get the same results as a change seen by 100 percent of an audience that improves outcomes by 10 percent.

“While personalization has its merits, Gray said, his team operates under the assumption that there are more 10 percent wins out there than 200 percent ones. ‘It’s a distraction to solve for a smaller piece of your audience,’ Gray said.”

Read more here.

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