Embracing Short-Term Content Apps and More Tips to Make Your Mobile App Strategy Work

At this point, there is really an app for everyone (especially cat lovers it seems!).  That said, a slight adjustment in strategy can be very meaningful in showing results at this early stage of the app economy.
Here are a few tips to augment your mobile app strategy.  We would love to hear from you if you have found success with anything in particular or if you feel other tips should be added to this list.

There`s reason to build a presence beyond iOS

Apple through iOS has done wonders to drop the barrier to develop and monetize mobile applications, and the hardware powering this platform is among the most profitable in the world.  When smartphones are considered, the iPhone makes up 30% of the installed base in the US.  A strategy that only focuses solely on the iPhone abandons 70% of the addressable market.

There are a number of studies that show a disproportionate number of page views coming from iPhone devices, but there are great examples of brands who have profitably reached a greater percentage of their audience by building their apps for multiple platforms.

A case in point: Advertising Age is a Publisher who has launched apps cross-device for iPhone, Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone devices. An interesting pattern we’ve seen is that the loyalty of non-iPhone users is much higher than iPhone users. As a Publisher who is monetizing the “user” versus the “download” the loyalty reported between iPhone, Android and BlackBerry users becomes meaningful.

Complement “print replica” with “purpose-built”

A number of magazine publishers have launched ‘digital editions’ (also knows as ‘print replicas’, ‘page-turners’ or ‘print behind-the-glass’) for the iPad, which are generally issue-based, paid content that is driven by the print editorial teams (versus the web teams). It is important to understand that the content profile of the print content is very different than that of the web content, in that the web content is real-time, multimedia-heavy and social-friendly. The opportunity here is to use the rapid adoption of smartphones and apps to extend the web content into apps while maintaining the ‘digital edition’ subscription model.

House and Home magazine is one example of a brand that has seen success with this dual-stream strategy. Their iPad app has a digital edition which drives revenue from the print advertising and subscriptions, while their smartphone apps are an extension of their web content which is monetized through digital advertising.

Find success in vertical-focused mobile apps

Although you may have one dot-com website online, that should not limit you from launching additional brands on mobile. The new distribution channels in mobile present new opportunities to launch mobile-first brands and to segment your existing content based on relevance for users. Why segment your content? It gives you a greater opportunity to sell targeted advertising. By launching a vertical-focused mobile brand, you are aggregating an attractive audience for marketers and will be able to drive greater engagement from users.

A best-in-class example of this is Pro Football Weekly. PFW is one website online, that is represented in mobile by an entire portfolio of apps each focused on particular subsets of their audience. The traffic on their fantasy apps, for example, is higher thantheir flagship app. There is an opportunity here to monetize the users and traffic at higher values due to the focused nature of the content.

Leverage campaigns to drive new revenue

Marketers and brands spend a lot of money trying to engage with audiences during high-profile events and will specifically launch new ad campaigns to align with these events. Why aren’t media brands doing the same? We have seen an uptick in the number of campaign-based mobile apps being launched by media brands to piggy-back a mainstream event that is guaranteed to aggregate audiences and keep them highly engaged, albeit for a short amount of time.

The Globe and Mail launched mobile apps across iPhone, Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone last fall for the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). TIFF only lasts two weeks, but it takes over the City of Toronto and is a major thread in the mainstream press. The Globe and Mail closed a major auto brand as the title sponsor and both enjoyed the benefit of cross-promotion for the duration of the event.

All mobile is not created equal – tailor content based on medium

We all use our smartphones differently than our tablets and our tablets differently than our desktop PCs. The broadcast model of “one-to-many” within media is changing, where although a media brand is considered “one source”, the many different screens it is broadcasting to require different treatments based on how the user will engage on each specific device.

An example within the sports vertical is The Hockey News. The Hockey News is a sixty year-old print publication, with a circulation of roughly 100,000 subscribers. Its online presence has an audience of 300,000 monthly visitors and in mobile they have had more than a million downloads of their apps. Why?

Their success in mobile can largely be attributed to their focus on tailored content based on the medium. Their mobile apps focus on real-time scores, personalized alerts and the latest news from around the NHL.  Making this data readily accessible from a mobile device makes it a very relevant experience for the mobile visitor.

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