How The Times of London is using Facebook groups to drive subscriptions

Dec 8, 2017 · digiday.com

The times

The Times of London is experimenting with Facebook groups dedicated to specific topics in order to attract new readers and ultimately convert them into subscribers.

Over the last six months, the News UK-owned title has started three Facebook groups. The first, Brexit-focused 52 | 48, launched in April and has over 1,300 members. The other two groups started two months ago: First Edition is for book lovers and has over 1,200 members, and 400-member Screen Times is for movie buffs. Eighty-nine percent of 52 | 48 members engage with the group on a monthly basis, whether that’s to post, like or comment, according to the publisher.

The Brexit Facebook group has also led to real-life meetups, where five group members whom the Times felt have consistently made valuable contributions were invited to News UK’s office in Canary Wharf to give feedback on the Facebook group. This meeting also included a session discussing Brexit with political reporter Henry Zeffman, policy editor Oliver Wright and columnist and former speechwriter Philip Collins. Now, the goal for the groups is to hold more sessions with members — the Times is planning one for January — and get journalists involved more regularly in contributing to the conversations.

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