Kathryn Kelly - Jun 24, 2020

How The Factual's readers are integral to upcoming changes

A week ago, we ran our first reader-wide Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey, and we’re thankful that 633 anonymous readers from across the world responded! Your suggestions are invaluable and will influence The Factual's products moving forward. 

Overall, our NPS was 53%. NPS is a measure between -100 to 100 that represents the likelihood that our readers would recommend us. This means we have roughly five times as many people who would recommend us than those who wouldn't. An NPS of +50 is generally deemed excellent, and anything over +70 is exceptional. 53% is high for the news industry, which averages -7%.

While this is a decent score, there’s room to improve. We aim to take direct action on several points our readers presented; our newsletter's new design was inspired by your suggestions. 

We split up our findings into two sections: what we’re doing well, and what we’re going to do better.

What we’re doing well:

1. Transparency
  • Many of you shared that the largest value-add The Factual has is its credibility rating for individual articles that is based on four factors — diversity of source, neutral tone of writing, author’s topical expertise, site historical reputation. Many also commented that they value the political-leaning information for each news source as it gives them important context.

2. Contrasting perspectives

  • A second crowd favorite was the differing perspectives shown on each issue. Typically, we aim for one left-leaning, one right-leaning, and one long-read, which provides context for the issue. With this diverse foundation, you should be able to discuss the news with anyone you encounter that day.

3. Summaries

  • The number one attribute of our readers is that they are busy. So it was no surprise that many said they find the summaries helpful. For every topic in the newsletter, we choose the three most indicative and objective sentences from the lead article and ensure that they give you the key points if you can’t read the full article.

What we’re going to do better:

1. Improve the newsletter’s user interface
  • This was our #1 area for improvement. Many readers felt the previous format didn’t allow for subscribers to scan the newsletter effectively. We took your feedback to our design team and re-imagined our newsletter. Let us know what you think!

2. Build an app

  • We get this request a lot — many readers don’t prefer our current email method. Apps allow for a more personalized, real-time experience, that makes browsing news more efficient. We actually have a beta version of the app available under our old brand name, but it is due for an update. We will address this in the latter half of this year and are excited to share previews with anyone interested!

3. Explain our ratings

  • Readers are unclear how the ratings are generated for a specific article. Moving forward, we’re going to begin to link articles in the newsletter to IsThisCredible.com, which gives an in-depth breakdown of the article’s score. We hope this clears up any confusion on our article credibility ratings.

4. Referral options with specific article/section shares

  • Readers want to share an article and have their referral link attached. We love that you’re sharing our content, and want to welcome new members into our community! We’re working on building out different share options.

5. More international news and fewer mainstream topics

  • Our content focuses on major U.S. news topics, but many of our readers, particularly international folks, would like more international updates. We will eventually have some personalization of content so users can adjust the mix from the current 1-2 world news stories per day.

6. The appearance of a left-leaning bias

  • Many of our promoted articles appear to be left-leaning. This leaves readers with the impression that we have a liberal bias. We addressed this concern in a recent blog post"Does The Factual have a left-leaning bias?", demonstrating several environmental factors that cause left-leaning articles to be featured more often and how The Factual still ensures you see a wide range of viewpoints on topics.

7. Revitalize our referral program with your feedback on most desirable incentives

  • We’re redesigning our referral program to encourage more users to participate, and we’re going to take your votes on the most attractive incentives and incorporate them into our new program!

At the end of the day, our readers are at the core of everything we do. We’re excited to tailor our product to better serve you. The best part about our results, though? Learning about you!

We have readers across the world, spanning 170 cities in dozens of countries, from ages 18-80. We’re so excited to be building this community of well-informed newsreaders. In addition to the steps above, we’re going to be rolling out community features, including discussion platforms and expert insights on topics, and we hope to develop Factual hubs where people can engage with the news.

Thank you for your support of The Factual at an exciting time, and for being a crucial part of our development! If you ever have any feedback you’d like to share with us, feel free to reply to the newsletter with your thoughts!

Written by Kathryn Kelly

Kathryn is passionate about effective communication and storytelling. A lifelong learner, she graduated from USC in 2017, having studied creative writing and international relations. She joined the Teach for America Hawaii cohort while simultaneously obtaining her Master of Science in Education degree from Johns Hopkins University. On her free time, she enjoys taking art and yoga classes, eating hot pot, and surfing.

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