Smartphone usage continues to grow among consumers of local news. According to the latest Digital News Report from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, 66% of Americans now use mobile devices to access the news, and people are spending more time on mobile than watching television. In response to this changing tide, local publishers need better mobile revenue strategies.
Mobile-friendly, responsive websites are just the beginning.
Mobile screens are tiny and cluttered spaces, compared to desktop, and the website design that digital publishers choose needs to keep reader preferences in mind. Also, publishers now have to compete for attention against the constant barrage of a push notifications, text messages, and email pop ups on their readers’ phones.
The battle for readers’ attention is making it harder for people to access and consume the news they care about. Few people sit down with their morning coffee and read the newspaper front to back these days. Readers now consume the news in “micro-moments”—that is, the minutes or seconds they have free while they wait for the elevator or they wait in line for their morning bagel. Consumers are using their smartphones to kill time while they wait for other things, and digital publishers need to adapt their mobile revenue strategies in response.
Rather than trying to change consumer behavior, the latest mobile revenue strategies capitalize on current trends and harness existing mobile behaviors.
Let’s take a closer look at three of the top mobile revenue strategies that we’re recommending to digital publishers right now.
1. Push Notifications
Mobile users receive a barrage of push notifications from various apps and services. As a local news publisher, you should be in the mix, too.
Push notifications create a sense of urgency that make readers feel like they need to see what’s going on right away. The way digital publishers choose to take advantage of push notifications on mobile devices varies depending on their monetization strategy and industry vertical. What’s most common, though, is for publishers to send push notifications to their readers whenever they publish breaking news or other hot button stories.
To learn more about how digital publishers can take full advantage of push notifications, read Web Publisher PRO’s guide to using push notifications to generate referral traffic.
2. Mobile Native Advertising
Native advertising is a monetization strategy that we have been promoting to our publishing clients at Web Publisher PRO for years. This type of sponsored content is a form of paid media. Although the goal for publishers is always to make a profit, native advertising has the additional benefit of providing real value to readers, as well.
Designing a native advertising program in a mobile-first environment means laying out webpages in a way that makes it easier for readers to access sponsored content on their smartphones. Pop-up ads should be kept to a minimum, as these can detract from the sponsored content itself.
For any of these mobile revenue strategies to work, publishers need to create seamless user experiences designed specifically for people on their smartphones and tablets. That means taking advantage of in-feed social audiences and aligning native advertising with user intent, user experience, and device physicality.
3. In-Feed Social
One thing that we know consumers like to do on their smartphones is use social media apps. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are three of the most popular apps in Apple’s App Store. Thankfully, social can also be one of the most valuable mobile revenue strategies for digital publishers.
When digital publishers increase user engagement on social media channels, they are essentially getting access to an army of publicists who’ve agreed to work for free. Social audiences love to promote great content to their followers. If they like what they see on a publisher’s site, they will happily share content across the various social networks.
The best way to monetize a social audience is to solicit shares, likes, and comments. The more an audience engages with the publisher on social channels, the greater the traffic on the publisher’s website, and the greater the digital advertising revenue.
Which of these mobile revenue strategies have you tried out? We’d love to learn more about which tactics are working for you and your publishing team.