In a recent blog post, we took a look at Nielsen’s State of the Appnation. As Android and iOS adopters continue to rise, time spent on apps has also seen a spike. One of the key takeaways from Nielsen’s infographic was that users are spending an average of 8% more time on mobile apps vs. the web. While these latest statistics may bring a sense of security to Android and iOS app developers, there’s more to consider than just the numbers. How can we attract users to spend even more time on our mobile news apps?
The quick answer is to develop user-friendly apps with interactive features. Our publishing partners have incorporated a variety of features designed to keep users engaged and interacting with content on their mobile news apps. For example:
Prominently displayed multimedia content. In our experience, users love to view and interact with multimedia content, especially photos and videos. Therefore, it’s important to have these items easily accessible both from the home page and throughout your mobile site for readers to dig deeper into stories. For example, one of our news affiliate partners, KRDO, a News Press & Gazette (NPG) station, has a specific tab for video content accessible from their main menu on its iPhone news app:
Give them more content they want. As the saying goes, mobile is local, so why not give the people more of what they want? Include more hyper-local content, including entertainment, news, sports, traffic cams and more.
Encourage citizen journalism. Many of our publishing partners’ news apps offer features where users can send in photos, video or text updates as news happens. This allows users to contact the newsroom directly via email or phone and feel as if they are part of the news team. For example, another of our news affiliate partners, KXLY, a Morgan Murphy station, uses a “Report It” feature on its iPhone news app:
Video feature, iPhone app
More weather content. Viewers love to get real-time weather wherever they are, whenever they want it. Many of our partners have introduced interactive weather apps with extended forecasts, current conditions, live video streams, and more. For example, KXLY has a specific tab for weather content that includes current conditions, detailed forecasts, radar maps and more:
Report It feature, iPhone App
Encourage users who want breaking news, weather, and traffic conditions to sign up for push alerts
Provide live streaming and VoD content
Optimize content by device. According to Neal Oberg, Vice President of New Media at Morgan Murphy, every piece of content doesn’t sit well on every type of device. Content may port inconsistently across different mobile platforms due to technical restraints and platform limitations. For example, certain content edited for an iPhone app may not be as effective for audiences using a Kindle Fire. Tony Courtwright, Director of Digital Media for NPG agrees with Neal’s content optimization tactic. Tony allows his team of news directors the autonomy to customize and optimize content based on the particular platform and device on which it’s being displayed.
Weather feature, iPhone app
As the app market further develops, we’ve continued to improve our backend support with rich media ad and photo gallery support as well as in-app ad browsers.
What additional features have you introduced on your applications to drive user interactivity? Let our readers know how you motivate users to stay engaged with your mobile apps!