AdAge reports that the New York Times and Wall Street Journal are using more push notifications on their mobile and tablet apps than they did in the past.
The move reflects a strategy to increase user engagement with the apps that while downloaded, sometimes sit dormant on people’s devices. Specifically, each newsroom is using notifications for breaking news.
The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal — No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in terms of U.S. digital circulation, according to the Alliance for Audited Media — are putting more emphasis on using mobile alerts to distribute breaking news stories and promote their mobile apps.
News publishers have long considered push notifications, which pop up on phone and tablet screens, too intrusive to use more than sparingly. In recent months, however, The Journal and Times have reconsidered that stance and started using them more often.
"We felt comfortable that our breaking news alerts have been well-received by readers and that we may have been a little too stringent about what alerts we should have been sending," said Jonathan Ellis, deputy editor of digital platforms at The Times, which has revised its guidelines on the subject. "More frequently, we’re asking ourselves the question ‘Should this be a mobile push alert?’"
FJP: The strategy is similar to one used by app developers and their frequent updates, no matter how small. It’s a reminder to the User that the app exists and hopefully prods him or her to use it again.
AdAge reports that those that opt in to push notifications are five times more likely to use an app but does take this warning from Brent Hieggelke, CMO at Urban Airship, “Push is not a channel to nag your customer. That’s a terrible experience.”