A rigorous and innovative testing strategy was key to bringing the strategy to life.
Firstly, six different core content propositions were explored: Daily Briefing, Cartoon of the Day, Top Commented & Top Shared, End the Day on a High Note, Suggested Reading, and top 20 articles. Together these make the core components of the Times news summary emails; however, different readers all consume the content in their own order. 11 models were built that contained various combinations of the propositions and then these were tested for optimum impact.
Next, time of day and frequency variables were tested to understand how these factors can be varied to optimised open and click rates.
Finally, formats were tested; the design and layout of the emails using different combinations of copy length and number of images to see which formats different consumers preferred at different times.
Using AI technology to build and then evaluate the efficacy of each of the variables resulted in the optimum combination of content, timing, frequency and format, with the most successful variables being used more and more.
Results show that the more personalised the newsletters are in terms of format, timing, frequency and content, the more likely it is that people will be engaged with The Times, be satisfied with their service and therefore reduce churn. The use of AI technology to define the personalisation meant that each individual version of the newsletter was tailored as specifically as possible.
In order to transform the experience of subscribers, we used AI to ensure that the content of each newsletter we sent out was as unique as each individual recipient. Our initiative was branded internally as ‘Project James – your digital butler’, with the aim of providing the anticipatory service of the best butlers of days gone by, where a besuited chap would bring you your newspaper – or content – each day on a silver salver, exactly as and when you required it. This was nonetheless no easy task given the millions of pieces of content at our disposal which all needed to be appropriately selected and titled for inclusion.