Paulina Kubala-Chuchnowska holds a position of Marketing Specialist at PressPad Digital Publishing, a company that creates mobile magazine apps, digital newsstands for PDF issues, and...Read more
News apps, to fulfil their primary goal, which is delivering information (mainly in a text form), could consist of articles, pages, and maybe comments sections.
These features are essential to create and run a news app.
However, in the era of growing interest in news apps, and thus fierce competition on the market and the ongoing improvement of technology, the mobile app delivering information must offer their readers something more.
The truth is that the app’s success is based not only on great reliable content but also on innovative features in conjunction with well-adjusted news app themes without compromising app functionality.
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In this article, I would like to present several news app features valued and desired by publishers and readers.
Why is news apps’ equipment so important?
While apps’ visual side creates the first impression, makes the app more memorable, and significantly influences the download decision, the technical aspects influence user experience, time of the exploitation, and the number of returning users.
The mobile experience should make people want to become familiar with an app and come back for more.
What’s the role of news apps’ features?
- Making an impact on the usefulness and usability of the app.
- Providing genuine and meaningful value to users.
- Building a simple and intuitive user experience.
- Differentiating your app from others on the market.
- Taking care of the users and giving them something special.
- Converting users into paying subscribers.
- Fighting with a short attention span.
- Increasing the readership and retention.
This doesn’t mean that the more features you put in your news app, the better. On the contrary, not all of them will be useful to users, and the excess can only cause chaos and make the application complicated and unintuitive. Furthermore, if you initially include too many different features, users may be confused about the app’s usage, core purpose, and how it fits into their lives.
The more so because simplifying life and ease of use boost app usage.
Simplifying life and ease of use boost app usage (source)
How to choose the most valuable features? Please don’t be scared of asking people about it. You can put a poll on your Facebook, website or inside the mobile app. It’s also good to regularly read comments published by users on app stores or your social media channels. You’ll find there clues telling you which features to develop, improve or add.
That’s why I don’t want to tell you that the features below are must-haves working in every case. Instead, treat them as a list of inspirations to reflect on.
News apps’ features overview
As part of a company creating news apps for publishers, I can tell you that among features we offer, some were added to the list a while after on particular client’s request. It proves two things. Firstly, even if we offer a comprehensive list of features, the customers know best what they need to fulfil their readers’ needs to make an app more useful, intuitive and fun. Secondly, in the digital publishing industry, opening on still improvements and changes is necessary.
The choice of valuable features should be based on the goal of the app. In news apps, the goal seems to be obvious – the simplest, most straightforward and fastest possible delivery of information to the user. This can be easily achieved with a few reader-friendly features.
There’s also the second group of features. These lead to achieving your business goals like content improvement or effective monetization.
What features should you consider during news app development?
News apps’ features great for the readers:
- New post notifications. This is the feature that sends customized messages on their device or notifies them about the latest article. It increases retention maximally. With notification, the readers can’t miss a new article and forget about the brand. You can use rich push notification what means that the app automatically sends a notification with the article cover’s thumbnail to your readers.
- Saving articles and offline reading. Looking at the point above and reading about notifications, perhaps the question that comes to your mind is, what if people don’t have time to read the article when the notification arrives. If you get a notification, you can save the article for later. Offline reading allows you to read it even if you don’t have an Internet connection.
- Push notifications. You can send your readers whatever you want – it shouldn’t be the only information about new content, but for example, Christmas wishes or information about discounts. Push notifications help you grab people’s attention and engage readers.
- Categories. Thanks to this feature, you can group all of your articles into sections for a specific type of content (for example, a sports magazine can have categories such as football, volleyball, rugby, etc.). It makes using an app more convenient and simple. Readers can easily and faster find suitable content and read exactly what they’re interested in.
News app’s features (Romania Insider)
- Social media feed integration. Many news apps offer a special social media feed. You can see it inside an app, usually after expanding the app panel’s side (right or left). Thanks to this, you can either scroll down or go directly to a brand’s social media channel with just one click.
- In-app search. After entering some website, I bet many of us automatically look for the magnifying glass icon to speed up the process of searching for what we want to find. So it’s pretty obvious to put a search bar on the website. What about news apps? Thanks to in-app search, they are a more valuable information resource because it doesn’t require much work or effort to get to the desired content.
- Easy sharing. This is the feature for which we love social media. When we like something, we can pass it on to someone else in a second. This option in the app is a chance to promote your content without any marketing campaign.
- Comment section. By adding comments to mobile apps, you can build engaged communities, fuel conversations, get to know your audience insights whilst efficiently moderating discussions.
- Read a sample. If you sell single issues and/or subscriptions, give users the possibility to see the fragment of the content for free. No one likes to buy a pig in a poke.
- Content archive. Have you ever wanted to get an old issue of a magazine or newspaper and couldn’t find it at any newsstand? Thanks to the digital archive, people have access to the old issues, which are already not available in print.
News apps’ features important for publishers:
- Analytics. To achieve success with your news app, you have to track app performance. Solutions like Google Analytics attached to an app can give you the necessary knowledge about your content popularity among mobile users. You can discover numbers of installs, article views, saved articles, etc. Based on this knowledge, you can make your content and notification settings perfect.
- Paywall. You can use a hard paywall, a soft paywall, and varying degrees in between. It’s the opportunity to increase income, especially for news publishers.
- Ads. It’s another way to monetize your news app. In-app ads can be perfectly matched to the look of your content. Thanks to this, ads don’t disturb readers.
One thing rises above the rest
No matter what features and how many of them you decide to put into your news app, you must remember one thing.
Using your news app is meant to be a pleasure.
Without it, even if you encourage people to download the app, they’ll open it and try but won’t come back.