The digital world has revolutionized how we get our content to readers. According to the New York Times “the Internet was supposed to be a place where billions of potential users could be reached in one place, simply and inexpensively. But as Apple focuses on apps and Google pushes the mobile web, businesses are grappling with a fragmenting online world.” As an online publisher, what’s the right path: Apps or Mobile Web?

“Americans spending about 60 percent of online time in a mobile app, about 30 percent on a desktop computer and just 9 percent in the mobile web, according to a recent Goldman Sachs report on digital advertising.” [NYTimes]

NYT-PublishersStraddleWeTake a read through the New York Times article entitled: Publishers Straddle the Apple-Google, App-Web Divide to see if you agree with them. Can a digital publisher have the best of both worlds?

App pros:

  • Easy for the dedicated reader to have instant access to articles
  • Fast loading: – app can load articles in the background (pull your phone out of your pocket when waiting in a checkout line etc.)
  • Badge alerts
  • Push notifications
  • Read articles off-line (on an airline or when no Wi-Fi or Data access available)
  • 89% of readers want apps

Web browser pros:

  • Articles are found in search
  • Social integration: Article can be shared easily in Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, etc.
  • Familiar and easy publishing platform

Solution?

Both.

The Web (on-line and desktop) is the funnel to readers downloading your App. Once a reader has your App they hit loyal readers status, they really want your content and they want it in the most convenient possible way… an App.

Expensive?

It was tens of thousands of dollars, but now if you run the WordPress platform and have the right plugins, it isn’t anymore. Integration is key – and the solution is publishing once (online) and having an automatic integration with your magazine or newspaper’s app. That’s where the new WordPress platform, UniPress, comes in. UniPress automatically pushes articles into your apps from WordPress and integrates with a metered paywall and issue publishing. Readers can also subscribe to push notifications by topic category and alerts when new articles are available.

App + Web Integration Solution: UniPress For WordPress

According to the UniPress team, it’s around $1000-$1,500 for set up/basic customization (development examples: logo set up, branding, App icon, paperwork for App submission to Apple/Google store, Google Analytics integration, and integration of a paywall [if needed]); plus you can be up and running fast. There is a monthly fee to keep the App running smoothly with support and small customizations.

PPD-APP-Widget-PhotoFor an example of a digital publication that has the App up and running, read this article about the People’s Pundit Daily – they made it all work.

The pricing for an app has come down tremendously and the long term payoff is huge. Even though the Apple and Google marketing machines are on different paths – that does not mean that you have to be too.