Delivering Greater Engagement for the Financial Times

Years published

130

Web + mobile subscribers

714,000

Digital circulation

75 %

Staying in the Pink

Delivering Flexible Solutions for the Financial Times

Since 1888, the Financial Times (FT) with its signature salmon pink paper has been a staple for business readers. Today, more than 75% of its circulation is digital. That includes more than half a million paid subscribers to its web and mobile app editions.

Delivering Engagement and Revenue Growth for FT

“A consistent customer experience and the ability to measure performance is essential to how the company uses email,” says Andrew Snead, FT’s Technical Lead for Marketing Automation. That’s why FT mainly uses email to nurture customer engagement.

Snead explains that by 2015, FT had outsourced its various email messaging streams to multiple external vendors, causing problems with consistency and measurability, and eventually making the process less cost-effective.

A consistent customer experience and the ability to measure performance is essential to how the company uses email.

Andrew Snead
Technical Lead, Financial Times

Building Strategic Value Instead of Managing Email Queues

After evaluating several approaches, Snead’s team realized the best solution was to develop a new internal shared service to provide key email sending infrastructure while outsourcing the delivery to a single vendor that could handle the technical complexity of the email delivery infrastructure.

Snead is very frank, “I’d rather my team focus on building value-added capabilities for our business than managing email queues or worrying about deliverability.”

It’s pretty simple: email deliverability, reliability and uptime, and the analytics I provide to my internal customers.

Andrew Snead
Technical Lead, Financial Times

Delivering Flexibility, Reliability, and Insightful Analytics

For the editorial team, the ability to use a drag-and-drop interface that allowed them to focus on content rather than the mechanics of email was a significant benefit.

On the other hand, the CRM and marketing teams required more flexibility to create templates that took advantage of the wealth of customer information in their systems to drive response to targeted offers. They also needed deep metrics and strong analytics to understand how customers respond to particular campaigns and offers.

Snead is quite direct about how his team’s performance is judged, “It’s pretty simple: email deliverability, reliability and uptime, and the analytics I provide to my internal customers.”

Delivering Data-Driven and API-First Solutions

Snead quickly realized how important “a great, API-first solution” would be for FT’s needs.

Some traditional ESPs his team evaluated were just too heavyweight. But when his team began experimenting with a free SparkPost developer account, they quickly realized they’d found an API that was just right for their needs.

Snead says, “The API looked great, and SparkPost’s analytics, message events, and webhooks were going to give us the data we wanted.”

After a successful test period, FT upgraded to SparkPost’s Enterprise service option to get access to a higher level of service for FT’s high volumes of email.

The API looked great, and SparkPost’s analytics, message events, and webhooks were going to give us the data we wanted.

Andrew Snead
Technical Lead, Financial Times

Delivering Successful Implementation and Looking Ahead

Today, most of FT’s subscriber emails, editorial and marketing messages are delivered through SparkPost. Snead anticipates that FT will be migrating other message streams from its subsidiaries as well.

He’s considering expanding the messaging options provided by FT’s shared email service to include push notifications and personalized alerts in the ft.com web and mobile app experience. That means integrating the CRM and engagement data that passes through the email platform into the workflow of his editorial users.

We looked at stability, deliverability, and how the API actually performed in real-world test cases. Performance was just what we’d hoped—and SparkPost’s analytics were a slam-dunk.

Andrew Snead
Technical Lead, Financial Times

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