It seems like publishers these days are all fascinated and are focussing the majority of their efforts into mobile. This doesn’t just rest with publishers just converting their content for mobiles, this reaches all the way to the duopoly. You will have heard of Google’s AMP and Facebook’s Instant Articles, two individual separate ideas with ultimately the same goal; reduce loading time, and create a cleaner mobile experience that will ultimately attract and keep readers.
So if Facebook and Google have got a mobile initiative, how are they doing with it?
Well new data from Chartbeat shows some pretty compelling findings on the engagement and performance aspects of pages that have AMP and Instant Articles enabled. To put it simply, Instant Articles load so fast that the company weren’t able to identify a load time. On the other hand, Chartbeat found that AMP pages load nearly 4 times faster than standard mobile sites, 1.4 seconds vs. 5.3 seconds). The fast loading pages seem to have had an impact on market share, publishers that have adopted AMP gathered 16% of their mobile traffic from these web pages, as opposed to 14.8% from Instant articles.
You may read this and think well, well as a publisher it’s a no brainer to implement one of these technologies and to drive up your engagement, however hold your horses. Many publishers across Europe are revolting against the duopoloy, due to the extreme of which they saturate the market, with French and German publishers exploring different alternatives to both Google and Facebook. Whilst the AMP and Instant Article pages may drive your engagement, you may not be paid what you’re worth, and that doesn’t sit right with a lot of publishers.
What are other publishers doing about mobile?
We've previously written a blog on publishers and rising subscriptions, with the move from print to digital media being a very prominent strategy used by different publishers. These new digital strategies included publishers such as the NY Times, Mediapart, and the Times of London, that all innovated in ways to recapture audiences and increase online subscriptions. Interestingly, by choosing digital strategies to drive engagement, this meant that publishers were identifying the importance and the accessibility of mobile, and making a wise decision to exploit that.
NY Times- Push Notifications
To Allow push notifications or not? When downloading an app, you often get the choice to let that app send push notifications to your lock screen, most of the time I click ‘No’ because I don’t like my phone vibrating every two seconds to go and play the latest game. The NY Times however have a specific 11-person team to focus on push notifications, bringing the most important news directly to the consumer. Whilst some publishers have adopted this concept and run it similarly but strictly for breaking news, the NY Times are making the pushes more personal. If a specific topic interests a reader for example, such as politics or an author, then every-time a story is published matching these criteria, a push shall be sent out to the home screen of the mobile. Further more, the NY Times is also testing pushes based on time of day, to see which ones get more engagement and buy into the data recovered.
The strategy of The NY Times is very smart, there’s more to push notifications than breaking news, and the ability to cater to a reader’s needs and send them specific content that they’re interested in is a good strategy in my eyes. The NY Times are well aware that social media, and other publishers send out breaking news notifications, so they differentiated themselves from that and only push exclusive content. A wise move in my eyes.