Audience engagement can be tricky with a diverse audience. With digital news, the audience is vast, but how people consume news differs from person to person. Digital news readership is growing, with the month of September 2013 recording 141 million American adults engaging with US newspaper digital content. That number was an 11% increase over only three months earlier.
Clearly, readers want to be connected to news topics of interest, and increasingly they want to connect on the go, using their smartphone or tablet. Of the 141 million American adults who got news digitally in September 2013, half were using mobile devices. Twenty percent of readers of digital news accessed content solely through mobile devices. The mobile audience tends to be younger, with around half of mobile-only news consumers falling into the 18 to 34 age group. Only 4% of mobile-only news consumers were age 65 or older.
The Mobile-Only News Reader
The mobile-only news consumer group is increasing as well, growing by 22% from June to September 2013 and representing 33 million unique visitors. Mobile news consumers tend to fall into one of two broad categories: hurried mobile users who simply want something to engage with while standing in line to get coffee, and dedicated mobile news consumers who want more depth to their news. Audience engagement for digital news publishers works best when publishers cater to both these types of mobile news users.
SEE ALSO: How to Capture the Mobile User
The Hurried Mobile User
The hurried mobile user is generally someone who wants something to look at quickly while waiting for their train, having a coffee break, or sitting in the waiting room at the dentist. They’re not usually looking for in-depth or long form content, but rather want to see what the headlines are, plus summaries of the big stories. These users often aren’t using an app, but are accessing mobile news sites that they like. Audience engagement for this group involves giving them bite-sized news stories with relevant headlines.
The News App User
Users of news apps tend to spend more time consuming news, according to the Newspaper Association of America. They use apps because apps often have time-saving features like straightforward headlines (that don’t annoy with ”click bait”) and the ability to click through from summaries to actual news stories. App users may check in several times per day, and they want to be able to see what’s new, and perhaps click through to more in-depth stories without hassle when they find something engaging. In other words, the mobile news app is the starting point for a more in-depth news experience.
Customizing Content for Mobile Users
Companies that have successfully pursued audience engagement with mobile users have customized their content specifically for these audiences rather than simply reusing content in the same format as their print or website publications. Responsive web design can help with this task, formatting content to a user’s device without news publishers having to write different content versions for each type of device.
News apps are another way to engage mobile users, and if an organization can afford to, they should create their site using responsive design, and create a native mobile app to improve audience engagement. This allows publishers to engage both the hurried mobile user in search of interesting headlines and news nuggets and the mobile app user who may want to delve more deeply into stories.
Monetizing Mobile Content
Mobile advertising is turning into a key revenue driver for companies pushing mobile content, but mobile advertising isn’t sufficient for most organizations in terms of revenue development. Paid apps, subscriptions, and features like custom job boards are other ways digital publishers monetize mobile content, and determining the precise mix of revenue streams for mobile is still very much a work in progress. That’s why it’s critical for digital media companies to pursue multiple revenue streams both on the traditional web and with mobile content.
Today, the ”digital shift” includes a mobile shift as well, as the number of people accessing news on mobile devices continues to increase. Audience engagement can no longer be solely addressed to people accessing news sites with a desktop or laptop computer. Audience engagement in 2014 will have to include your mobile audience, and this may require re-thinking parts of your revenue development strategy to include your mobile site or app.
RealMatch offers recruitment advertising solutions for digital news publishers that are mobile-friendly and keep publishers from having to duplicate revenue development tactics across multiple devices. The result is simpler revenue development that allows digital news publishers to concentrate on delivering high-quality content that engages readers on whatever type of device they use to consume news.