How Digital Publishers Can Use New iOS9 Features To Increase Subscriptions
The June 2015 Apple keynote turned out to be the most important update for news and magazine publishers since 2011. iOS9, available in October, will offer publishers an opportunity to take advantage of some new features and are significant for digital publishers. Arguably they will benefit advertising oriented apps better than pay-wall apps, but they might even drive publishers to take down pay-walls and put up ads.
To prepare for the coming updates, here are a few things publishers need to know:
1. Newsstand - Newsstand apps (iPhone and iPad) will move out of the disliked Newsstand back to the home screen with their branded icon. What this means for publishers: Like any regular app the reader can find it on the home screen or organise them into folders. This is likely to create higher visibility and increase reader retention.
2. A new News App - Integration of standalone news stories deep into iOS, creating a new home for news organisations. What this means for publishers: This is perfect for publishers following a "publish frequently, publish everywhere" strategy. The News App is fed by dynamic feeds (RSS or a custom format) and is less suitable for periodicals and rich magazine layouts which should continue to use their own branded app. News App launches initially in US, UK and AU. Advertising in the News App is powered by Apple iAd with 100% of revenue going to the publisher unless they choose to leverage the iAd network to see the ads, in which case the publisher keeps 70%.
3. Searchable App content - With an iOS9 optimised digital publishing platform, App content will be searchable on the web and on the device. What this means for publishers: This is profound - Magazine content that has been locked up inside Apps (including back issues) will be searchable. Think SEO for your magazine content. But even better, when a user searches it will return results from inside your app even if the user doesn't have the app or the content downloaded. Publishers with quality content who leverage this should see a boost in app and content downloads. Remember that your digital publishing platform will need to provide you with a new iOS9 optimised app to take advantage of these features.
4. Deep linking - Going hand in hand with search, Apple has created deep link URLs. What this means for Publishers: Simpler sharing -- publishers can share web URLs that work on both the web and in an app. (Here is an example of a web link and an app link: gourmettraveler.com/recipes/best_winter_soups). iOS9 will open web links in your branded app (if the app is installed) or show the web page (if the app is not installed). Publishers can take advantage of this by pushing readers to specific content in the app rather than the app overall. It will allow for more targeted content marketing.
These features when implemented properly are very likely to make digital magazines discoverable to an audience who never consider them before.
Keith Ahern is the CEO and Founder of Oomph, a technology provider that helps publishers and advertisers convert print advertising assets into multi-format digital content.