In the age of distorted narratives, fake news, and rampant misinformation, readers across the globe rely on newspapers and media apps to receive accurate information from trusted sources. We spoke with India’s largest-selling English language daily newspaper and digital news outlet, Times of India (TOI) owned by The Times Group, to understand how they send relevant news to their readers while being the first to break the latest stories.
As per the 2021 survey by Reuters Institute, Times of India was rated India’s most trusted media news brand. To understand how CleverTap is powering them to be the first to break the news, we spoke to Manik Aneja, Retention Manager at Times of India. His key responsibilities include expanding the TOI+ subscriber base and retaining existing users, while also encouraging non-subscribers to convert.
Currently, the retention team sends separate campaigns to subscribers and non-subscribers, along with some campaigns that reach their entire user base. When it comes to subscribers, the primary goal is to bring them back onto the app, thereby increasing CTRs and engagement rates. Beyond engagement, they also aim to motivate readers to purchase TOI+ stories.
For non-subscribers, the goal is to promote TOI+ stories and create awareness about the benefits of choosing a TOI+ subscription, giving users access to numerous content partners such as Docubay and Dalal Street.
The previous analytics platform TOI used wasn’t offering them detailed insights on user behavior, user navigation within the app, and ways to retain the users. Without understanding user behavior and interests, it was challenging for the team to personalize and contextualize their messaging.
To stay ahead of the curve in the cluttered digital news space, having a highly scalable and agile engagement partner was non-negotiable. Having multiple tools in their tech stack and migrating data between different tools was only hampering their speed of execution.
Creating campaigns manually for every ‘breaking news’ story would hinder the team’s efforts to stay ahead of the competition. Automation was the need of the hour. TOI needed a marketing automation platform that could help them trigger campaigns as soon as the story went live on the app. Automation would also reduce errors, helping TOI remain trustworthy to users.
With scalability and agility as pressing needs for the TOI team, they found CleverTap to be the perfect partner in winning mindshare and market share in the Indian digital news industry. CleverTap enables high-volume targeting and delivery of messages at record speed, helping them amp up their engagement game.
“CleverTap offers us a distinct competitive advantage in the digital news space. We’re now able to execute our campaigns at a record speed with CleverTap’s APIs that help us automate our campaigns. Now, once a story goes live, we are instantly able to send a campaign, saving us a lot of time and effort while reducing the errors that can come with manually sending campaigns,” remarks Manik Aneja.
By automating campaigns using APIs, Manik Aneja launches campaigns at a much faster rate than when they manually launched individual campaigns. For TOI, their competitive advantage lies in updating app users about the latest headlines before any competitor can beat them to it, ensuring communications remain relevant.
“Automating our campaigns using CleverTap’s API has revolutionized our user engagement and conversion efforts,” says Manik Aneja.
Automating notifications using APIs drastically reduces errors, which is pivotal for media brands like TOI to remain trustworthy in the public eye.
Additionally, Manik Aneja has created journeys to boost renewals where users are encouraged to continue their subscriptions. This journey begins 30 days before the validity of subscription and continues 30 days after the date.
While automation remains integral to how TOI scales user engagement to more than 10 million users, personalizing the communications is what keeps users coming back to the app for more updates.
Using Liquid Content and Linked Tags, TOI has built an algorithm to individualize the content every user receives. “Based on the stories our users read in the past, we add liquid tags that help us personalize message copy using conditional logic. We have many tags based on how our users consume information, helping us send relevant stories to users,” explains Manik Aneja.
“CleverTap has helped me gain an extensive understanding of user needs and interests. We also receive suggestions on the best day and time to engage with our user base,” adds Manik Aneja. The TOI team leverages pivots to find these golden windows where users are most engaged and influence user behavior to boost subscriptions.
To make data-driven decisions in real-time, the TOI team has created custom dashboards on CleverTap. “Through historical data, I expect a certain conversion rate every day at 2 pm. So, if at 4 pm, I don’t see us achieving that desired rate, we launch a campaign based on live data to boost our conversions,” Manik Aneja adds.
TOI has seen over a 100% increase in subscribers after leveraging CleverTap’s scalable platform to automate user communication and reach out to customers at record speed. “Thanks to CleverTap’s speed and scalability, we’ve been able to understand what our user wants and their interests and engage contextually in real-time,” notes Manik Aneja.
The Times of India team is eagerly looking forward to integrating additional APIs with CleverTap to boost their automation strategy and send real-time communication while also staying ahead of the competition. We’re extremely excited to see how the Times of India is redefining what it means to be trustworthy and accurate in the uber-competitive news space.