British daily newspaper The Independent launched it’s sister print publication ‘i’ in 2010 based around concise, quality news with a fresh, vibrant, youthful feel and a low price. The Independent lacked a digital proposition for i and therefore required a solution to extend the brand online and deliver its content to a growing audience of enthusiastic young readers (18-30), through web, mobile and tablet channels. A distinct new product needed to be created which would form a brand extension, and not simply i content replicated online.
We worked closely with The Independent, we created i100. i100 was website that lists 100 stories, with a reddit-style ranking system by reader popularity from 1 to 100 with short, snackable content. Adopting a mobile-first approach to design and an agile approach to engineering this brand new platform starting at the base of the bespoke CMS up to the design engineering of the responsive site, giving the user the optimal experience across mobile, tablet and web.
Technology plays a huge part in our overarching idea – our proprietary algorithm takes into account reader votes, number of shares, comments a story has received and the time period it has received them, to determine the popularity of each story. Additionally, to help increase reader retention, we incorporated a gamification element, integrating with Gigya to reward users with points based on voting, commenting on and sharing content, delivered through the CMS built from scratch using Mongo.
The target of 500,000 unique users visiting i100 within the first month was hit within two weeks of launch, despite no above the line spend or publicity attributed to it.