20 questions for a 2015 mobile health check
January 5, 2015 - By Stefan Savva
As more people access news via mobile apps and platforms, news media companies need to have specific strategies in place that address how readers use their products and how advertisements are treated.
Two words that publishers are going to stress more in 2015: mobile disruption.
With publishers acknowledging their total mobile audience has skyrocketed over the last few years, their focus heading into 2015 needs to be on executing a rock solid strategy of mobile engagement and monetisation or risk having their businesses becoming terminally ill due to the advance of mobility.
Here are 20 questions to help you diagnose if mobile is likely to make your publishing business sick in 2015:
- What percentage of your audience is viewing your content on a smartphone? Now compare that figure to the percentage of revenue coming from smartphones and look at that figure as a year-on-year comparison.
- How long does it take to load the home page of your mobile site on a smartphone? How about an article page? If it’s longer than two seconds, you risk losing the battle for readers’ attention spans and patience.
- Do your developers use your mobile products as your customers do? It helps if they use your products every day. While this is not always possible, ask yourself if your development team finds real value in the features they ship.
- Do you have separate revenue strategies for smartphones and tablets, or are you still calling them both “mobile” and rolling out the same tactical approach for these different platforms?
- Do your designers consider and also present the smartphone experience first, or do they default to showing you mock-ups of the PC experience when it comes time for a design review?
- If you publish the same content to different platforms, are you aware of the differences in how readers consume that content? Do they want the same content and experience regardless of the platform?
- What percentage of your readers scroll to the very end of an article page on smartphone? Now compare that figure to an article page on desktop.
- What percentage of product development still happens where mobile is not considered? Is your smartphone experience lacking in quality features and content because no one thought to put them there?
- If your designers create and publish infographics, do they create a version that is optimised for the smaller smartphone screens? Are your infographics even legible on smartphones?
- How many people in your newsroom are focused on editorial innovation and looking at delivering content for new platforms, such as wearables, the connected car, messaging apps, etc.?
- Where are your paying subscribers spending the majority of their time: PC, tablet, or smartphone?
- What percentage of advertisements is given to you in flash, a format that simply doesn’t work on modern smartphones?
- How do your advertisers see mobile? Do they fully embrace the possibilities of mobility in their own businesses or do they see mobile as just another communication channel?
- What are the biggest blockers that slow the adoption of advertising on smartphones and slow the growth of your mobile revenue?
- When it comes to the changing role of newspapers, how far down the seven stages of grief is your newsroom: reflection and loneliness, or acceptance and hope?
- What percentage of total traffic to your smartphone comes via social? Now compare that figure to your PC product and ask yourself if mobile social is adequately resourced and who owns it in your newsroom.
- Have you tested your apps to ensure they comply with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines so they are accessible by people of all abilities? This is a legal requirement in many countries and a moral obligation for all publishers.
- How much effort are you putting into customer acquisition on your app compared to your Web product? Now compare that to the ARPU for your app versus your Web product.
- Is your mobile product road map focused more on keeping up with your competitors or keeping up with your customers?
- Do you consider your main competitors in smartphone to be the same as the ones you faced in print or even in PC? How do you even define your competitors now?
Mobile Director - Fairfax Media
As Mobile Director at Fairfax Media Stefan is responsible for the mobile strategy and direction for more than 50 market-leading mobile and tablet assets including the award winning SMH and AGE m-sites and tablet apps. Stefan’s role spans product vision and strategy, mobile insights, audience growth, design and leadership of the mobile product and technology teams.