Building an Audience for Digital Editions and Apps: 31 Strategies That Work
As publishers have shifted focus from print-based to multiplatform publishing, the need to attract and retain digital audiences has become more acute. In a world where new apps and digital editions arrive daily, catching a reader's attention (much less their data and dollars) has never been tougher. We asked two experts in audience building to share their advice on strategies for finding and keeping fans that go beyond the click of a "like" button.
Sharon Bailey Romano
Marketing Director, Email & Apps
With the launch of its App Lab in June, Hearst has positioned itself as a thought leader in digital product development. Key to the effort to expand its brands (including those recently acquired from Hachette Filipacchi Media) is effective audience building.
PE: What are ways publishers can boost digital subscriptions?
Sharon Bailey Romano: The key for Hearst is to ●be in every relevant digital magazine store. Zinio, the longest running, has evolved over the years, and their store is compatible with a wide range of devices including iPads, iPhones, PCs, all Android devices and the HP Touchpad. Barnes & Noble has an excellent digital magazine store, which is tightly integrated into their own Nook Color device, and they've extended their reader software to support both iOS and Android tablets, expanding their customer footprint well beyond their device reach. And with the launch of Apple's Newsstand category within the App Store and the Amazon Kindle Fire we expect a significant boost in digital subscriptions.
PE: What features built into digital editions and apps help to build audience? How important is multimedia to this?
Romano: ●Possibly the most important feature you can build into your app are reader surveys. Capturing a reader in real-time as they are engaging with your content is extremely powerful in helping shape future issues and, as a direct result, building your audience. ●We've certainly seen multimedia features such as video, real-time survey responses, digital shopping 'boutiques,' quizzes, etc., increase engagement levels; however, ●research shows that you certainly don't need multimedia or interactivity on every page. A huge benefit of digital editions is simply the portability, so bringing a magazine to digital without lots of bells and whistles shouldn't be discounted.