Consumer Insight and Engagement

Bookmarks app

Listening to our readers

Consumer insight helps us maintain our position as the world’s leading publisher.

We use many techniques to understand our audiences and their needs across the whole publishing spectrum: fiction, non-fiction and children’s, and in whatever format they want to enjoy our content.

Our researchers and analysts draw on historical and current data, spanning traditional and digital products, pricing and sales information. Our marketing teams regularly use web and social media analytics to understand what is happening online and why, and our Consumer Insight team uses primary research to speak to a range of readers across the UK.

Our ideas are frequently tested with different audiences on our consumer panel, Bookmarks, through surveys and focus groups. These insights inform every stage of the publishing cycle, from choosing which books to publish, cover designs and formats through to planning and evaluating marketing campaigns.

The instincts and experience of our publishing teams is supported by our central consumer insight team and the expertise of our business analysts, digital and marketing teams. 


We work closely with well-established social platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr, as well as experimenting with emerging platforms, to make sure we reach audiences effectively through these platforms. We seek out new readers by thinking differently about other platforms like Transport for London’s tube and Hailo’s licensed taxi networks.

We also form new relationships with emerging platforms such as PopJam, an online community where children can create and share their art, photos and creations.

Talking to our readers

We help our audiences to discover our authors and brands in the ways that suit them: in print, online, via email, mobile or audio devices.

By talking directly to our readers, we’ve fostered online communities such as The Happy Foodie, which represents all Penguin Random House UK chefs, and features author news, recipes and competitions. It now boasts more than 60,000 unique visitors a month.

We brought Roald Dahl’s captivating characters to 300,000 children with our Puffin Virtually Live Roald Dahl interactive webcast.

Our online community Penguin Platform provides a space for 16-19 year olds to share and discover stories, including ‘Young Adult’, crossover and adult books. Through branded spaces on Tumblr, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram, Penguin Platform gives readers access to an unrivalled list of authors and an ‘inside look’ into the publishing process. Platform has amassed thousands of subscribers and followers across YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr in its first few months alone, it is a creative, engaged community that is continuing to flourish and grow.

We constantly adapt to the ever-changing digital landscape by experimenting with our brands and finding new channels to connect with audiences of every age and at every stage of their reading.

Reaching readers with our brands


@PenguinUKBooks Twitter followers


Penguin Facebook followers


@PuffinBooks Twitter followers


people listening to Penguin on Soundcloud


Penguin Instagram followers


Pin-happy fans on Pinterest

Dead Good Crime: getting readers involved in plotting

We partnered with Specsavers on our #ChoosethePlot campaign which saw authors Christopher Fowler, James Oswald and Jane Casey co-write a brand new crime thriller in response to thousands of readers dictating the plot.

The three authors ran a writing relay, with Christopher penning the first chapter before passing the baton to James and Jane, who had to steer the story in the direction guided by our readers.

The thriller was published as a free ebook and has seen more than 1,000 downloads.

Dead Good Crime

Summer of Penguin

To celebrate our 80th birthday, Penguin partnerered with Transport for London and Virgin Media to create a new experience for London Underground customers.

We opened up our bookshelves to offer London Underground customers a daily choice of two book extracts, ideas or interviews from Penguin to read or listen to during their commute, from some of the world’s best-loved authors via a dedicated mobile-first site. Users were encouraged to turn on their Virgin Media Wifi to access the site on underground posters and via the Virgin Media wifi portals. 

The campaign ran throughout August, during which time we received over 50,000 visits and totalled 3,700 hours of reading time. 

Summer of Penguin