NIKKEI publishes business, financial and general news across its array of print and digital platforms. It has more than 3 million paying subscribers to its services and another 4 million registered users. NIKKEI Wave, its most advanced mobile app that was rolled out in July of 2020, is available only to subscribers.

One of the key objectives of NIKKEI Wave, like most other publishers with mobile apps, is to ensure users form a strong habit around visiting the app often. Habit formation is always a tough challenge as advanced features such as recommendation engines can improve user engagement within an app session, but not necessarily change the number of times users actually return to the app.

Smarter users equal loyal users

That is why NIKKEI wanted to integrate the new feature from CRUX; in essence, to create a user experience that encourages readers to return to the website again and again, i.e. deepen their engagement and loyalty to the app and site. Essentially, CRUX developed a technology that measures how a user is engaging with the news in the topics they follow, while letting the user know his- or herself how well they are deepening their knowledge in those topics.

The tech was integrated in the app via an API. The feature shows users (via a scoring system) how they are advancing their knowledge in the topics they are reading about, as well as suggesting other articles that will improve their knowledge.

With the users’ scores persisting across sessions, this incentivises users to form a continuous habit of visiting the app. When users return to a topic after having missed out on some relevant content, they are faced with an indication from the app that shows the relative reduction in their knowledge level in the time they were away, as well as the best articles to catch up with, giving further motivation to read more, and visit more often.

Return visits trending up +16%

So far the results are impressive with the key metrics targeted: After two months of testing the new development, the average number of visits has increased by 16 percent compared to a control group. In addition, the average number of articles read is up by 32 percent.

A further testing round, this time against an alternative set of recommendations, backed up similar results: The increase of visits stayed at 16 percent while the increase in articles read came in at 30 percent.

Future development of the experience

NIKKEI’s Product Manager Norihiko Sawa said that after these impressive results and the financial analysis showing the potential positive impact on Customer Lifetime Value, NIKKEI is now beta testing a topic-based view, based on CRUX’s knowledge quantification tech, at the top of the newsfeed within the Wave app. In this new view, users will be presented with their highest scored knowledge topics to encourage them to further read about them, increase their scores even more, and deepen their NIKKEI Wave habit.

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