How The Economist’s new app tries to keep people from unsubscribing

For the past eight months, The Economist has worked to drive retention, as it’s cheaper to keep readers than to acquire new ones. Case in point is its new Economist app, which went live May 2 and is free to download, but requires a subscription to access articles.

Denise Law, who led the project in a newly created role of head of product, said the new app was developed with the awareness that readers are overwhelmed by the amount of content in it, which leads them to unsubscribe.

“People who engage with digital products are more likely to re-engage with their subscription,” said Law. “We want to demonstrate through the app that you don’t need to read from cover to cover to get value.”

To that end, the app’s most prominent feature is the editor-chosen Daily Picks section that’s designed to help readers navigate the breadth of stories the publisher covers.

“Now, the idea is to bring a new culture of becoming a subscriber-first publication,” said Law. “The biggest implication is better serving our paid readers. We’re not just making money from eyeballs, but growing reader revenue.”

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