As a newspaper that's moving in the 21st century, a spike in your mobile readership is probably one of your top goals. When your readers start to consult your content while on the go, whether from mobile phones or tablets, your brand has recognized a major achievement and reached a significant brand milestone.
But a spike in mobile readership can create its own set of demands and challenges, as evidenced by the recent case study of The Tennessean. Here's a closer look at their case study and what newspaper and broadcast media executives can learn.
What drives mobile traffic
The Tennessean team noted several important figures with their mobile readership growth. One was that mobile readership grew as a measurement of total page views. Another was that the number of readers accessing the site via mobile devices, instead of desktops, also increased. Finally, traffic referrals from social media sites - which is a highly mobile audience - increased dramatically. The lesson here is that mobile growth can come from a number of different sectors and be measured in unique ways. Make the most of that in both your planning and analytical work.
Design and mobile optimization matters
As your mobile readership grows, it's important that your website be maximized for mobile users. In particular, it's helpful to remember that there are a wide range of devices that need to have a positive reading experience - from tiny Android screens to the largest tablets. Have you evaluated your website for its mobile functionality?
Have you tested it across a reasonable range of devices to ensure that everything looks and functions well, especially on touch screens? Investing in design, performance, and functional optimization for mobile readers will help continue to increase your readership and reputation.
Reevaluate your content strategy
Mobile readers want different things than desktop or print media readers. They're often on the go and they're interacting with content through smaller screens. As a result, successful digital publications that target a mobile readership need to think through how they're setting their news strategy, covering stories, and packaging them for release.
For example, a 4000 word investigative piece might be perfect for your print edition. But finding ways to break that down for a mobile audience - from publishing it as a series to supplementing it with more visual media or interviews with the writer - is essential to having the kind of content that keeps drawing mobile readers back.
Understand your demographics
Many experts discussing trends in today's mobile market have underscored the importance of "hyper." Hyper-local, hyper-focused, and hyper-relevant are the keywords. Although The Tennessean covers a reasonably large demographic, they noted that local content produced by teams focused on specific areas posted particularly large gains. As a publisher, it's helpful to understand how to better target your content to your readers. This could be a focus on a specific geographic area, or finding creative ways to double down on interest areas for your readers.
When your mobile readership explodes, it's time to look at everything from your content strategy to your technology plans. While this can take a significant amount of work, it's worth it. The value that newspapers are garnering from increases in mobile readership ranges from increased exposure to a higher level of subscription and advertising revenue.