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The Straits Times

The Straits Times developed initiatives to grow untapped audiences by experimenting with new channels and new content

Learn more about the way The Straits Times is hoping to drive engagement with a new audience, by rethinking channels as a product rather than a means of distribution

The situation

The Straits Times participated in the Google News Initiative (GNI) Data and Insights Launchpad (DIL) program, delivered through a partnership between Google and FT Strategies. DIL is a three-month long program aimed at addressing and accelerating publishers’ data and insights capabilities, from reader discovery to subscription strategy.

During this program, the audience survey received a high volume of responses from unexpected channels and sources. In particular, one group of users that stood out to The Straits Times team was their Telegram subscribers. This was a channel that was previously not a focus area for the business. The survey results highlighted a clear opportunity for growth by specifically engaging with their audience on Telegram.

In addition to the survey findings, the program recommended that the value proposition could be refined in order to be clearer for potential subscribers. There was also an opportunity for content sampling, to allow users to build reader habits before being prompted to pay for a subscription. Furthermore, the initial onboarding journey for new registered users and new subscribers could be refreshed to enable richer first-party data collection while also engaging with their audience earlier on in the customer lifecycle journey. The Straits Times team planned to deep-dive into these key ‘subscriber moments’ to increase reach, conversion and engagement.

Headshot of Ng Kai Ling
blue cirlce
Ng Kai Ling
The reader survey and data analysis was very useful in helping to identify opportunities for us to work on. The program was a catalyst that allowed us to step away from the daily grind and have fresh perspectives on how things are.
Head of Audience Growth Team, The Straits Times

The action plan

The Straits Times team prioritized the initiative to reach a younger, more diverse audience who are not already reading or engaging with The Straits Times through various projects. Based on the responses from the user survey, The Straits Times started an experiment to introduce their newsletters through Telegram - the experiment is still ongoing but is showing really positive results so far.

The next project on Telegram would be to refresh the look and feel, and content mix with the aim of making it a go-to newsfeed. The Straits Times are also in the midst of pulling together resources and expertise to grow their followers on TikTok, as part of a longer term initiative to reach a younger, more diverse audience.

  • 96,000 users on average
  • 8% engagement rate of newsletter promotions on Telegram
  • 10% sign up rate across the Telegram experiment
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