Content distribution channels

This blog post is the third in the series that explores different aspects of developing a digital strategy for 2016, one that lays the foundations for long-term sustained growth. The series is:

The past year has seen renewed interest in giving news and other publishers new mobile-optimized channels to distribute their content. Some of them are new, some are just gaining traction, and some represent new interest in old content distribution and user interaction channels.

As many of these are still nascent, and the thinking around them is still crystallizing based on each publisher's needs, we will describe them now briefly so you can assess if they are relevant for your strategy or not.

Apple News, Facebook Instant Articles, and Accelerated Mobile Pages

Apple News, Facebook Instant Articles, and Accelerated Mobile Pages: these initiatives are aimed at content/news publishers to help them distribute their content in new mobile-optimized ways. All three focus heavily on speed (see the loading performance section in the mobile strategy blog post in this series) and its effect on user engagement. As these channels introduce and intermediary between your content and your users, it is as much a business decision as it is a technical implementation.

Messaging

This grab bag category covers SMS, WhatsApp, Telegram, and push notifications. Increasingly, news publishers are taking an interest in direct short messages sent to readers who opt to receive them. The Globe and Mail in Canada used WhatsApp to great effect during the Canadian election campaign in October 2015. Meanwhile, research from the BBC in November 2015 recommended they should "focus on WhatsApp, and less on Twitter and Instagram", and reported on how the BBC increased readership by about 17% when they launched the BBC Persian account on Telegram.

SMS, of course, is easy to automate and has been used for a long time. However, it's unknown if the early successes with WhatsApp and Telegram will translate to other publishers, and even to other types of businesses such as ecommerce.

Push notifications are well known to native app developers because they drive high rates of user re-engagement. As of earlier this year, push notifications are available on the web platform. This means the wide reach and easy discovery of content the web enables gets a very powerful boost for re-engagement.

Google app indexing

Google App Indexing: By implementing app indexing, an app can drive app discovery and installs via Google search results, improved Google search results rankings, as well as user re-engagement on the device itself. If you publish content in a website-app combo, app indexing is a must for 2016.

Need help?

As always, if you would like help thinking through these topics, please contact us.

Continue reading the series

Image source: Mobile mobile, by James Theophane.