ADGA, The Financial Times' effort to calculate the net number of readers that access daily its content (online and in print), answers one of the most frequently questions asked by the sales team of any newspaper: how many people will see my ad today? Anita Hague, global research director at the FT, explains.
The Financial Times has a daily audience of 1,905,636 readers in print and online (including free access from registered users) and that is a net audience as the duplicated consumption between the platforms is removed. Those numbers come from the Average Daily Global Audience (ADGA) new measurement method, audited by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). Every May and November the statistics will be updated. The attached PDF file at the end of this interview provides detailed methodology of ADGA.
WAN-IFRA: ADGA is a complex process... why do that now?
Hague: We are asked all the time – for many years now – how many daily readers does the FT have around the globe. And because of the way the syndicated readership surveys work, there was not one survey that could give us the answer. So we had never been able to answer that very simple question on print, and with the Internet factor the question just grew bigger. So it’s happening now, but really, we’ve wanted to do that for years. And it was out of the question to do that without the eye of a third party to guarantee the integrity of the method, so PwC audits our results.
WAN-IFRA: If you wanted to offer your clients and their agencies a new way “to better understand and quantifify your audience as a multi-platform environment,” then why not integrate your readers on FT mobile and iPad?
Hague: I really want to do that in a second stage. My intention is to include that later on FT mobile, the iPad or the Kindle. Our aim is very much to have all of our platforms together, using one metric for our audience. But this is going to take some time to incorporate the mobile platforms; we need a way to assess the number of people that access our content on those devices, then “deduplicate” that from the people who have already consumed our content, either on the website or the newspaper, that day. We’re really looking for a net audience, not a gross audience.
WAN-IFRA: Now that you can tell precisely how many readers access your content daily, will you increase your ad prices?
Hague: (laughs)… This is not to increase our ad prices, but more to be able to tell them where the money they are spending with us is going.
WAN-IFRA: But you’re already the Financial Times, you’re famous in print and online, so why go all-out there if it’s not to monetise it better?
Hague: What we can improve on is to be able to demonstrate to advertisers who either use just one edition, or print, or online-only, what they can achieve by adding another channel or another geographical area. With the FT content platform, we still have people that advertise only online or in print or in the U.S., etc…
WAN-IFRA: This concept of deduplicated, multi-platform daily readers, could that set a standard for a new audience measurement?
Hague: Yes, I think it could. Our methodology is very transparent and of course anybody that would like to follow that path would be able to do it.
WAN-IFRA: But online you’d be probably more impressive using unique visitor metrics?
Hague: FT has a very targeted audience; we’re not planning to reach hundreds of millions around the globe. But it’s the first time we are able to aggregate audiences from different media and countries in a meaningful way. So I would not say that two million is small, I would say it’s accurate. Actually, this close to two-million figure is quite similar to what we were announcing before we started to measure with ADGA.
WAN-IFRA: Do you differentiate access for paid-for content and free access in the survey?
Hague: Not in that specific survey, but we’re working on a way to measure our audience for paid-for content in a channel-neutral way. That’s in development. For the time being, we measure the number of people that have accessed our content on an average day… it could be paid-for or free, but as you know, online we have a registration barrier and only a number of articles can be downloaded so it is free but limited. The registration process involves collecting information about those occasional readers and creates a deeper relationship so we can target advertising to them…
WAN-IFRA: What are the most common questions when you introduce ADGA to your customers?
Hague: They’re interested in knowing if anybody else would be following up… but no one is actually questioning the methodology. Because I think it’s quite straightforward. They also ask about the future inclusion of other platforms…
Some more data about the Financial Times
> Global circulation: 386,590 (ABC figures, April 2009)
> FT.com now has 126,281 paying digital subscribers, up 15 percent year on year and a greater overall reach with more than 2.3 million registered users
> The FT's iPhone app has had more than 300,000 downloads since it launched in July 2009
> The iPad app has had over 150,000 downloads since the launch in May 2010, and won the Apple Design Award