Why Mobile Apps?
86% of time spent on mobile devices is spent within mobile apps.
Whether you’re an online publisher, pro-blogger or have a news site, you can’t ignore this statistic.
A native mobile app makes business sense if you publish content online and have already built an audience.
But what exactly does building your own app offer that your website doesn’t give you already?
Your published content should be available for your readers when they want it, where they want it, and how they want it!
A native mobile app will deliver a quality, immersive experience to the reader. An experience you have full control of (compare it with giving control away to Facebook, Twitter, or Medium).
With your own native app, your icon and so your brand will be front and centre on their device.
An Upward Trend for Mobile Apps
Let’s admit, we all spend way too much time on our smartphones. Over 75% of Americans spend at least 3 hours on their smartphones every single day. Publishers and business owners have an opportunity to capitalise on this mobile app usage trend (which is still increasing!) by creating a native app to fulfil their website visitors’ needs.
Smartphone usage has overtaken desktop usage too. We’re spending most of this time mobile device time in mobile apps. In fact, 85% of mobile users prefer mobile apps to the mobile web!
What makes mobile apps so user-friendly is that they remove the need to open up a browser, remember and type in a URL, which is what you need to do with the mobile web. With an app, one click and your content is available. Visible right when the user is looking for a distraction or a clever way to use some free time.
Having an app in the App Store and Google Play store will help you increase your audience size by letting your brand be easily discovered. See our article on App Store Optimization for some advice on making sure your app ranks well in the app stores, leveraging the opportunity offered by these popular storefronts.
How do you convert a new visitor into an engaged, loyal reader?
Have them download your app. Using smart banners on your mobile website is an effective way to turn your mobile web visitors into mobile app users. In turn, they’re likely to use your app more than they did your mobile website!
And once they’ve downloaded your app, you can encourage them to come back, again and again, using push notifications. Push notifications are one of the biggest advantages offered by native apps vs alternative kinds of apps, or the mobile web.
When used well, notifications can bring your readers back to your content, time after time. If your native app has any social features (for example, if you run a BuddyPress social network) you can use push notifications to engage users when new activity relevant to them happens on your app.
Matt Galligan, CEO of Circa News highlights in an interview that “[publishers] that use push notifications judiciously win, but there are interesting consequences for those who don’t.”
The key to success is to use them sparingly: focus on highly shareable, relevant and valuable content. If you overdo your push notifications, your users may start to ignore them or turn them off altogether.
Do people really prefer using mobiles apps to the mobile app?
A comScore report highlighted that 7 out of every 8 mobile device usage minutes are spent on mobile devices, with the majority of this being spent in mobile apps. TechCrunch
Content consumption in 2018
Readers today want great content in easily digestible bites. They don’t want to have to trawl through a complicated website to get it.
A well-designed native mobile app can deliver everything that your reader wants, all just a tap away, allowing them to easily access your content on their commute, in their free time, or whenever you send a relevant push notification from your native app.
Your content should be accessible with a simple swipe action. Today, we’re used to being able to access content with a simple thumb swipe. We’ve all become really good at swiping up, again and again, thanks to popular apps like Facebook and Instagram making the news feed format the most widely used means to access information and content on a mobile device.
It’s not just us at MobiLoud championing the use of native mobile apps for news sites, blogs and WordPress sites.
Jimmy Maymann, CEO of The Huffington Post said “I tend to disagree with the notion that publishers should focus on the mobile Web and not mobile apps”, says Maymann, “People who download our app visit much more frequently and consume 10 times more articles than people coming from the mobile Web.”
In a good native app, with a simple swipe, you’re on to the next article. It shouldn’t surprise you then users will read up to 10x more articles per visit compared to a mobile site like they do in The Huffington Post.
Content sharing and mobile apps
People also share more content on social media directly from mobile apps than they do from other content consumption sources. This is not a surprise since with a native app the built-in sharing options offered by both iOS and Android make it really simple for someone to share your content using the most popular services and apps, and virtually anything they have installed on their devices.
Let’s take the example of sharing an article on Twitter.
Compare a one-tap action within your app, to having to having your readers tap a share link within your mobile site, driving the user away from your site, to a log-in page where they have to enter their Twitter password, complete their tweet, send it out, finally land on their Twitter timeline… and then remember to go back to your site.
Sharing within native apps is easier, faster, and more user-friendly. This provides benefits to both your app users, and your business!
Clever publishers today are leveraging social to grow their audience and traffic. Your audience is willing to market your content for you, by sharing on social media. Just make it easy for them!
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