Apps Are Not Optional
This is probably something you’ve heard before, but it bears quite a lot of repetition: You must have an app.
It’s not just how ubiquitous they are. (And they are: can you remember the last time you saw someone out and about without their smartphone? Can you remember the last time you were more than a few feet away from yours? And, per Nielson and eMarketer, 80% of readers prefer apps to mobile web.)
It’s not just that they allow you to provide an entirely different user experience. (Although they do: faster, cleaner, with offline availability.)
The reason that every publication needs an app is that it allows you to open up an entirely new market.
In fact, based just on what we have seen and observed from the publishers we work with, launching your own app will gain you at least a 10% bump in your subscriptions.
A Whole New World
App users are a different type of reader than your typical subscriber. While your average desktop customers aren’t going anywhere, our data suggests that any overlap between the two is essentially one-sided.
(About 50% of subscribers who come from the web side would or have requested a way to read on their phones. On the other hand, only about 5% of subscribers who come in through the app ever visit the actual site. They restrict their interactions solely to the app.)
Tea Journey Magazine is a prime example of this dynamic between web readers. They launched their web-based magazine (with an accompanying app) to an eagerly waiting audience in 2016.
In the first few months, they earned 1000 subscribers from the web…and 500 more just from the app stores.
Without their app, they might have missed out on a full third of their subscriber base.
Tea Journey Editor Dan Bolton sums it up nicely. “Apps work,” he says.
Beyond The Numbers
Launching your app nets you more benefits than just the subscriber bump – although that bump is certainly nothing to sneeze at.
One of the best add-on rewards to having an app is that it gives you opportunities for direct contact with your readers that you just don’t get with the web.
Your presence on their home screen is a constant reminder that you exist, with no active pestering required.
Notifications ping whenever you push or promote an article, issue, or new item.
And badges – the running counter at the top corner of the app logo – remind them just how much new content you have for them to explore.
All of that happens automatically for you and it becomes automatic for them – your publication become a daily habit, which makes them more likely to renew their subscriptions.
And take note of that word: automatic.
All of this can happen without increasing your workflow.
Big Rewards, Minimal Effort
There are tools – like ZEEN101’s UniPress – that allow you to deliver content to your apps automatically whenever you publish it to your site.
UniPress integrates all WordPress-based publication tools and databases into a single control dashboard. Once you’ve got it set up, the app basically runs itself.
You can still use your metered paywall, too. Casual readers can read a few articles and you can create and manage different subscription levels, too.
Modern Drummer Magazine, for example, offers two levels of subscriptions on their app: Current Issues (which is pretty much what it says on the tin) and Archive (which allows access to their 40 years of content).
All of it is managed through the same subscription table and set of tools that you would use for your web publication.
Ready to break into a whole new market with your app? Let’s chat.