With “inNews”, our news aggregation app, we have brought 3 key ideas to mobile news readers:
1. Users don’t need news served via feeds & categories, they want to know whats the top news at any time. Technology should determine what is important based on social, readership, influencer, velocity, volume of content on the story.
2. Users prefer both short-form and long-form content. Short form content can be curated manually or generated through automation.
3. Technology should provide a 360-degree view of the news story and all media associated with it – all related stories, images, videos and a historical context so readers can understand news better
Our initial analysis with first 500 users shows that while there is good engagement with the content, there is not enough engagement with the app. The app currently relies on the user to open / launch it to see the top news and the associated 360 deg views. We are not giving any reason to open the app.
In an earlier post, I have talked about notifications and what sort of notification one should have. The easiest way would be to send a notification each hour with the TOP news at this hour. In the age of chatty apps, a user gets 5-10 notifications per app and with 40-50 apps, this could itself become an over-kill. Another way would be to ask the user to specify the time slots when they want to informed about the top news of the day. After all personalized service is the best option.
Turns out, while the notification based on multiple time slots is useful from a personalization angle, it is not very useful from a news “function” angle. A little bit of introspection reveals the “better” formula for notification for a news app that has an archive, a related news technology engine, a summary generation engine and a notification engine – sending the BIG news of the day at the end of the day!
Consumers are caught in their daily grinds and are juggling a barrage of work, personal and social messages. But all consumers want to be aware of their world, the news that matters to them. What better than to send them a capsule of the top news of the day and provide a quick way to catch up on the BIG news with the means to research any specific story in as much depth as possible. After all this is what the 9 pm TV news is all about – top stories of the day; 1 min, 60 stories; headlines of the day are all about giving you the top news as curated by the editorial team in a quick 5-minute recap and then debate the top 3 issues over next 1 hour.
What if we could send an automated summary of all the top 30-50 stories of the day, with some reasonable threshold to determine what is a top story – based on # of related articles, influence of writers, influence of topics / people, # of people reached etc etc.
What if you got a friendly notification from your news app alerting you of the top stories of the day with a quick summary scan and the ability to select any story and check out the depth. Now that seems like an interesting notification / engagement strategy!
So get ready as we get back to the development board and try and hammer this out as quickly as possible. Deadline for the team – 30th October launch of our smart notification – The BIG news of the day.