You’ve heard the news about the news: faced with extinction, print media is reinventing itself for mobile–especially the iPad. Publishers can reach iPad and other tablet computer users in real-time throughout the day, but first they have to know what readers want, and how that’s different from what they want in print and online.
UK-based news publisher Telegraph Media Group is using Webtrends to figure it all out. Instead of trial-and-error, the publisher guides its app development and mobile offerings with usage metrics and analytics. It’s using three steps to get there.
Step One: Trial Subscription
The Telegraph offered its first iPad version late in 2010 as a six-month free trial. Here’s what they learned:
- iPad usage did not displace media consumption, but complemented it
- 25% of iPad users said their usage was in addition to other media
- The app drove loyalty and retention
- The number of returning readers grew continuously after the app’s launch to more than 111,000 by January 11th
- There were more Telegraph for iPad users over age 55 than under 35
- Since iPad app users tended to be older, this insight let the Telegraph focus on smartphones and the web for campaigns or content aimed at younger readers
Additionally, usage spiked in the morning and at night. So the publisher introduced a night-reading mode.
“We would not have invented that without using the analytics,” noted Mark Challinor, Director of Mobile & Interactive Services, UK Telegraph Media Group.
Step Two: Getting Readers Engaged
The Telegraph launched version two of its iPad app in April 2011. Readers subscribe to this current version, which is a curated version of the newspaper, providing more in-depth coverage and using ads strategically.
The publisher is using Webtrends to measure several key metrics, including page views, number and time of day of visits, day of week, app version, most-read stories and more.
The publisher is working to build readership mass and volume. The idea is to hold off on too much targeting–both in content and ads–until readership is large enough to justify segmentation. The Telegraph is also experimenting with which types of content work best for the iPad. Beyond curating specific stories, the publisher recognizes the iPad is better at in-depth coverage for some stories (with audio and video, for instance) compared with print.
The Telegraph also wants to develop its offerings for advertisers, both for individual ad buys and as part of their overall media strategies.
Step Three: The Ads
The Telegraph wants to help advertisers learn what types of ads work best with its iPad readers. It also wants to show brands how powerful tablet ads can be.
The Telegraph has learned a lot about how iPad app subscribers interact with the publication:
- iPad readers interacted with ads six times longer compared with desktop viewers
- Engagement and usage were high. Average time spent in the app was over 10 minutes
- One-half of users shared content with family members. It is important for the Telegraph to recognize this fair use, and for advertisers to see it as increased circulation.
- Peak reading times were earlier and later in the day for iPad readers compared with desktop viewers, and higher on weekends. This is especially important for some advertisers: coffee makers will want morning readers, while dessert makers will look for evening users.
The publisher will try out new sections and new ad shapes for the app over time to see what works best. Mr. Challinor said the industry would eventually have to create standards for iPad ads like it has for the web and smartphones. He said measurement standards would be key to that process.
“The industry needs to come together to say ‘These are the important measurements,’” he said. “That is where Webtrends comes in. They have a role to play.”
For a more detailed description of the Telegraph story, please click here.