FT Edit

Financial Times

We built FT Edit in response to two big problems that we kept hearing from our customers. People felt overwhelmed by news and they wanted us to steer them towards the most interesting and important stories. They told us they needed more in-depth analysis, and that they were unsatisfied with one-sided reporting.

Our target audience are those people who are, in ever greater numbers, turning away from the news. Our goal is to bring them back with a curated and high-quality offering.

We designed FT to be a daily edition. Instead of a never-ending vertical scroll, we arranged our stories horizontally, with a card at the end so readers know when they have reached the end. Instead of breaking news, we filled the app with the best of the FT’s analysis, longer reads, opinion and FT Weekend articles.

We stripped back as much furniture as possible from the home screen and article page to encourage focused reading, and removed all ads. And we priced the app so it would be accessible to everyone (99p a month for the first six months after a trial period, and then £4.99 a month after that).

Our readers instantly got it. FT Edit has a 4.8 star rating in Apple’s App Store. One reviewer on Twitter described it as “irresistibly simple”, adding: “It's elegant, it's beautiful, it's almost impossible to misuse. Each element gets more screen space, which helps clarity and understanding, which helps usability.”

For the FT, the project is the start of a new cycle of innovation as we introduce a range of different products at different price points for untapped audiences. We have also learned how to work in new ways: the FT Edit team is drawn from editorial, product and commercial and everyone has collaborated on the design, content, and marketing of the app.

One small example of this collaboration saw influencer campaigns which included guest editors, such as Steven Bartlett and Professor Tim Spector, taking over the curation of the app for a day and promoting it to their followers. These resulted in spikes in downloads and download conversion rates in excess of 60%. Not only were these the first influencer campaigns ever run by the FT in pursuit of new paying subscribers, they were the first time that we have handed control over to external “editors”.

In its first year, FT Edit was downloaded around 140,000 times. We are now past 200,000 downloads. Our subscription conversion rate is well above the benchmarks that Apple has for news apps, and we have higher engagement with our articles in FT Edit than on ft.com and in the main FT app.

As one reviewer said: “FT Edit has achieved what a few others have tried but failed: it made me like to read the news.”