Reaching Viewers With Your App Promotion

You’ll hear it in almost every newscast:

“…And you can download our app for breaking news and weather.”

In many newscasts, it’s said the same way every day around the same time. In fact, odds are the copy is in the “format master” so the producer or anchors don’t have to add it.

Unfortunately, it has the same impact on viewers as “coming up” and “we’ll be right back.” It’s just noise and a signal for the viewer to tune out.

The future of local TV news is mobile. I know we say it over and over, but the facts are clear. Look around when you’re at the market, the gas station, the dinner table or waiting in line for anything. Almost everyone is on their phone.

As an industry we have done a good job at promoting our broadcasts, but promoting and getting people to download station apps could use some work.

What to Do About It

How are you reaching the user? On TV? That may work for those who watch your newscasts, but what about those who don’t — especially information consumers younger than 40?

How are you using Facebook to drive your app downloads? How often do you provide a link on Facebook within a story to get users to your app download? Those are just two of the opportunities to improve your strategy. Here are more recommendations for increasing the effectiveness of your app promotion.

  1. Produce a promo for uswxixe on social media. TV spots on social don’t work. They’re slow, plodding and don’t grab the eye as the user scrolls through their feeds. They rely on sound. Social media is all about images. Here’s a great promo from WXIX in Cincinnati. As I scrolled through my feed, the images were constantly changing and engaged my eye and then my mind. The spot is perfect for those with attention deficit issues – which includes many of us who are constantly  looking for something new on our feeds.
  1. Buy Facebook Ads. One of the best ROIs for reaching a viewer is Facebook.  The targeting opportunities are tremendous and the cost is literally pennies compared to the value of a TV spot. Make the specially produced promo part of the buy and make sure you have a link to the app – NOT the entire app/Google store but your app. Don’t let the viewer shop; take them right to the product.  Since Facebook is so flexible that you can schedule an ad, buy as a weather event approaches, for example,  when it’s much more top-of-mind.
  1. Consider Twitter. While its user base is stagnant, many users look for news, so promoting a weather and news app with an image/video could get you more downloads.
  1. Don’t forget LinkedIn. It has a significant user base of higher income and higher educated users. Millennials are using it, so there’s an opportunity to get the audience you want.
  1. As you promote your app on TV and in your newscasts, look for ways to integrate it within the content. If a storm is coming, don’t just display it from the weather computer. Show it on the app – tie it in to the control room so users can see it being used by your weather folks in real time. If you broke a story on the news app, say so in the copy: “As we first reported on our news app this morning…”

Stations need to aggressively look for ways to get their apps downloaded. Many users’ phones are full. To download your app they may need to delete something else, so the app has to exude value. The odds of an app downloaded today remaining on the phone 30 days from now are slim.

A report from Nuance on why people are abandoning apps says, “Despite the fact that every day over 50 million mobile apps are downloaded, 95 percent are abandoned within a month.”

Smart stations treat their apps as a revenue product, not just a bolt-on to the broadcast product (a product many users may never watch), and promote it as such.

If we can help you refine your strategy, let us know.


About the Author:

Today developing an effective digital media strategy is critical for revenue growth and brand-building. Steve is working with station groups, website developers, content suppliers, and others to in three key areas: social media, web and mobile. In addition, Steve puts his extensive television news expertise to work for clients helping them develop and refine their on-air product. Steve has led news operations in markets across the country including Philadelphia, Atlanta, Hartford and Tampa. In addition, he has served as an executive at the corporate level for NBC Universal and Meredith Local Media leading strategic growth and digital content initiatives. Most recently, Steve was vice president of news at WTXF, FOX Philadelphia where he took all newscasts from a fourth place position to second or first. Steve has also served on several industry boards and is the winner of many awards including the Georgia AP Best Website Award and numerous Emmy awards.