The supplement looked at trends in business, technology, medicine, science and culture. The content was popular among paid members of WSJ.com, leading the publisher to surmise it could find a broader audience among nontraditional readers, according to Wajma Mohseni, associate director of marketing and brand strategy at the WSJ.
The first paid digital campaign for the Future of Everything broke social-media records for the 130-year-old publisher, and quadrupled subscription orders from the previous issue.
“But what distinguished it from other campaigns was its ability to reach a primarily young audience of men and women under 34 years old,” Mohseni said in a column for the International News Media Association.
Web traffic jumped 316% from its previous issue, while subsequent data showed that engaged members who read the Future of Everything were far less likely to cancel their subscription, she said.
Reader revenue has become more imperative to the survival of publications that have lost readership and advertisers to digital rivals. The problem is more acute for local newspapers. The WSJ’s national scope and dedicated readership among businesspeople made the transition to digital formats smoother during the 1990s dot-com boom.
Dow Jones & Co., a unit of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., publishes the WSJ.
By expanding the Future of Everything into an annual conference, the WSJ is building on a popular appetite for live events, like the TED Talks, that bring together thought leaders from technology, entertainment and design. The influence of TED Talks goes beyond live events as millions of viewers watch the video recordings of its speakers online.
In May, the WSJ hosted its second Future of Everything festival with more than 70 talks and interviews with notable people. It also worked with 34 companies, such as Aerodrums, Segway and Beyond Meat, to create interactive experiences for its more than 3,000 attendees.
“We developed a formula for marketing the content, but the festival gave us a chance to really extend our creative chops,” Mohseni said.