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Best Research / Insight Project

Congratulations to News UK, News Insights team, who are the winners of Best Research / Insight Project


Your ’Elevator Pitch’

The Sun Savers loyalty club was launched to defend print sales. It worked, but why?

To grow the base further and deepen engagement required a detailed understanding of usage and motivations. We fused digital insights with customer research through a five-month programme of connected projects and techniques to create a new segmentation model.

Today this model is at the core of all strategic decisions and has helped drive +202K new members, accounts for 12% of sales, added 13%pts to our CRM open rates with Sun Savers being the 7th most read section of The Sun.


Set the Scene

SunSavers was a success, but why?

To grow membership and, crucially, to drive engagement required a deeper understanding of usage and motivations. Building volume and engagement while maintaining ‘The Sun’ factor and the ‘joy’ of the brand meant finding the right messaging, offers, promotions for the right reader segments. At the start of 2018 a cross discipline team was formed, made of data analysis, data science and insights specialists alongside marketing. They were set the task of developing a segmentation strategy based on behaviours and motivations. A programme of projects followed throughout 2018 that culminated in a new segmentation model.


Tell Us The Story

Making the shift from promotionally driven to a member centric programme SunSavers offered the potential of the same kind of audience insights normally reserved for online-only brands. If we could link reader buying behaviours and motivations with digital engagement and overlay an audience segmentation, we could inform the next wave of growth and engagement.


We had analytical data and customer research but no way of confidently connecting them. Does banking codes at a certain time drive greater engagement? Which groups have the highest lifetime value? What levers can we pull to drive greater engagement? We had, and still have, so many questions!


Techniques and process:

  • Initially, Data Science built a segmentation model based on RFM (Recency. Frequency and Monetary value) which created >50 audience segments
  • Data Analytics teams overlaid this with Acxiom audience data and then, to ensure a more practical and workable solution, they applied clustering logic to form 5 core segments. These were given the names of Comfortable Colin, Savvy Steve, Coping Karen, Devoted Denise and Aspiring Ally
  • Customer Insights & Analytics then used unique identifiers over a series of surveys (each 10-20K to ensure we were confident of their relevance and allow us to scale up to the entire base) to connect specific customers to a segment
  • For the first time, we could build detailed segments of ‘known members’, not ‘anonymous readers.
  • It changed three core elements of the business;

- How we developed the product

- Marketing briefs, campaigns, media buying, messaging, CRM & newsletter content

- Guided new editorial content


The Results

We launched the segmentation in July 2019 and it now informs everything we do across developing the product, the marketing and how we present it through editorial content in both print and online.

Performance metrics to Jan 2019:

  • July-Jan added 202K members with total 910K members
  • Sun Savers codes account for 12% of sales
  • 7th most read section of The Sun
  • A step change in open rates from ~17% to ~30% peaking with our Comfortable Colin’s at avg 48%
  • We spend typically 60% less on OOH campaigns as well focusing acquisition or engagement creative by locales
  • Editorial develop new features and content for segments
  • Informs product development
  • House ads placed next best fit content
  • It introduced a common business language from C-suite down




In Partnership with


In Partnership with

AOP - Association of Publishers