- Global agency of record
- 1,000,000 subscribers
We're helping the Financial Times build the business of business news.
The world's leading business and financial news organization, the FT is known for its authority, integrity, and accuracy. Essence began working with the FT in 2014. Today, we're proud to serve as their global agency of record.
By the Numbers
Years as AOY
We're proud to to have served as the FT's global digital media agency of record since 2014
The FT established a record 1 million subscribers in 2019, 750,000 of which are digital.
Increase in subscriptions
Our Brexit coverage campaign increased subscriptions by 75% versus average levels.
Increase in subscriptions
Our 2016 US presidential coverage campaign increased subscriptions by 33% versus average levels
Brexit and the 2016 US elections
The recent global populist movement created an unprecedented dilemma for the FT. More broadly, as ideas from the global populist movement spread, so too did misinformation and fake news outlets pushing their own agendas. Both Brexit and the US presidential election represented landmark moments in capturing the attention of young people in politics and current affairs.
We expanded our targeting beyond our traditional FT audience, providing content to young people through platforms they spent time upon, like Facebook and Twitter. Our goal was to reaffirm the FT as a voice that the public could trust, in order to increase paid digital subscriptions.
Our plan was to be a steady voice in the cacophony. We had to make sure our young audience knew the FT was a trusted information source. We did this in three ways:
1. We developed multiple touch points across search, display and social.
2. We blended proactive and reactive approaches to the changing news cycle, preparing creative ahead of time and partnering with the FT’s editorial team to create new messaging if the conversation suddenly shifted.
3. We focused on the user journey. From the first search query to their arrival on the landing page, we gave our audience what they wanted, showing them the benefits of engaging with the FT’s reporting.
To execute our strategy, we had to be nimble. During Brexit, using demographic, interest and behavioral targeting across Facebook and Twitter, we were able to reach a global audience interested in politics and finance. As the discussion reached a crescendo in June, we tracked search results to react in real-time to what mattered most to readers. In the week surrounding the vote, we made 16 headline changes on our display creative and completed 23 refreshes on Facebook and Twitter.
In the US, our social and display ads for the presidential contest counted down to the vote, keeping the focus on Election Day. That night, as the FT shared state results online, we served in real time Facebook ads highlighting the leading candidate. Our ads featured Trump’s victory 12 minutes after it was announced by Associated Press, well ahead of most news outlets.
As a result of our work, we saw a 75% increase in subscriptions over average levels during the UK referendum on Brexit and a 33% increase during the US Presidential Election.
These two campaigns greatly contributed to the FT’s record-high circulation across digital and print during the campaigns, with digital subscriptions accounting for more three-quarters of the total paying audience.
Connecting with younger audiences
One of the FT's key objectives for 2014 was to increase product consideration and awareness among younger, tech-savvy people around the world.
To drive relevance and grow subscriptions with this audience, Essence and the and the FT used data to deliver relevant and timely messages. This included identifying key media opportunities connected to optimum times of day in which the typical FT reader could be engaged. A cross-channel messaging and media plan was crafted to ensure that these readers would be exposed to messages at key points of their day, such as their daily commute or lunch-time, on various tablet, mobile and desktop platforms they may be using.
The campaign succeeded in creating sustained uplift in total FT weekly subscription volumes, increased site traffic, and heightened brand recognition with younger audiences.