Here at CJ&N we constantly share with each other promos that we see from various stations. Many are great spots about upcoming special sweeps pieces. Others promote station brands. More and more frequently, we see stations producing a promo for one of their apps. Not a bad thing, right?
But this past week another one of those promos was circulated around – this one for a station’s weather app.
My first reaction? I said to myself, “Gee, this looks just like the promo I saw last week for a different station.” And then my reaction was: “Why would I download this? What’s unique about this weather app versus the umpteen others I have seen and many that I have downloaded and deleted?”
There are 400+ weather apps in the Apple and Google stores – dozens and dozens are from TV stations, and all basically do the same as the top national weather apps. In the app universe, chances are high that an app of ANY kind downloaded by a user will be off their phone in 30 days. Users are always “cleaning” their phones and looking for something new.
While many stations have been successful at getting people to download their weather apps, the question is: How many still have them on their phone? Chances are if they haven’t used the app in the past few weeks, it has probably been deleted.
Here are a few weather app factoids based on various research projects we’ve conducted for national and local market clients:
- iPhone owners automatically get a weather app with their phone and it satisfies them. True, it may not give you live radar or severe weather alerts but users feel it handles the basics very well – quick loading to show you the current temps, the forecast for the day and the next several days, along with other locations you regularly follow.
- The most often downloaded app is from Weather.Com (aka, The Weather Channel). It’s true in every market we’ve studied.
- People only want one weather app. They’re happy with what they get from it, especially millennials, who don’t want to clutter their phones with multiple weather apps. They see little reason to download additional weather apps.
- A key way to enhance the value of your weather app is push alerts. Much like news push alerts, we know they have tremendous impact and create “app value” for the user. Apps that have distinct user value “live longer” on their devices. Don’t rely on the automated weather pushes many apps offer. As weather approaches take a pro-active approach especially during rush hour and major local events.
- Given the above, users see little incentive to download a local weather app. Basically, they say the content is the same as the national weather app when it localizes. (They’re right, in most cases.) While users rely heavily on local TV news – your shows – for weather, they see nothing special from your newsroom on your local weather apps.
Take a look at your weather app. What do you offer users that they don’t get on the phone’s native and Weather.com apps? Why would someone download it and take up space on their phone? Most of the content is automated.
Not many stations offer additional relevant local content. You should. For example, if your community has water-based recreation, does your app have a marine and beach forecast? For those near the mountains and the slopes, do you offer a ski forecast and snow conditions? Probably not – yet this could be locally relevant content and easy to provide (along with sponsorable).
Beyond adding local weather content, there is one key opportunity – live severe weather streaming. Users tell us they want to watch severe weather coverage on their devices. This is not just “simulcasting” what is happening on your air. Chances are, if they are watching your severe weather coverage on their phones, they’re mostly likely not near a TV set. Put yourself in the heads of those people – what do they want to know first? What’s happening now? Who’s at risk? What direction is the storm going? When will it be over?
Even when severe weather is moving into your area that’s not worth televising, users want it on their devices. Not providing it is ignoring an audience that wants the info but doesn’t want it to interrupt their big-screen viewing.
Which brings us back to that promotion. What elements of your weather app are you promoting? Current conditions? Seven-day forecasts? Instead, this is the opportunity to drive downloads and values of a local weather app with specific local content and by trumpeting immediacy and using your severe weather coverage strength with live steaming, pictures and maps showing storm direction, impact and timeliness.
If you would like to discuss drop me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org