Digital Publishing
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The Financial Times: Readers who comment are 7 times more engaged

The Financial Times has a different experience with its commenters: After spending months analyzing the behavior of people who comment on its site, the newspaper has found that those who leave comments read more articles, spend more time on site and come back to The FT more often than those who don’t.

The FT wouldn’t give out exact figures but said that commenters are seven times more engaged than those who don’t comment.

“There is an element of chicken and egg about this,” admits community manager Lilah Raptopoulos, whose aim is to encourage more active comment threads on site and to reach new readers to join the debate. Only those registered to The FT can leave comments — commenters don’t have to reveal their identity, whether they’ve simply signed up for a trial or are full-fledged subscribers (it has 647,000 digital subscribers). Ultimately, The FT wants to drive subscriptions, but working out how reader outreach fits into this is difficult, said Raptopoulos.

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