A Step-by-Step Guide to Push Notifications for News and Media Companies
The news finds the reader with browser-based push.
Push notifications are powerful tools, but like any powerful tool, they need to be used properly. This step-by-step guide will lay out how any media organization can get the maximum impact from their web-based notifications.
Choose Key Performance Indicators
Before any push strategy can be put into place, metrics for success must be chosen. What’s the overall goal of your push campaigns? Do you want more audience members? Do you want to engage the audiences you already have more often? Is there another goal? Choose key performance indicators that will help you track this. Your push notifications platform of choice should also include several standard performance metrics, such as click-through rate, unsubscribe rate, and user platform. For news organizations in particular, knowing your user’s platform will be crucially important for push notification scheduling.
Design Audience Segments
It begins with the audience. Since they are “opt-in,” meaning your audience chooses to accept the notification, browser-based push notifications allow audiences to segment themselves for you. For example, if you cover local sports, you’d offer a general sports segment, covering national, college, and local, and break out each of the three as a separate segment on your website. This allows you to tightly focus your notifications on relevant content for each audience.
Next, consider frequency. If you own a mobile phone, you know that the bombardment of notifications can quickly make you numb to a game or other app you’ve downloaded. The same is true of news organizations. When you ask for notification permission, you should include a promised frequency. This could be a specific number, such as twice a day, or it could be “as news breaks.” Look at your audience data and consider which value proposition makes more sense. Local TV news, for example, may want to offer specific times of day, such as morning, noon, early evening, or night to coincide with their broadcast.
Push reaches multiple audiences everywhere.
The “best” time to push out a notification is constantly shifting and depends on a number of factors, including when news breaks and other notifications your audience might be receiving. A good rule of thumb is to time notifications around the times your audience is most likely to have a moment to engage with your content. Also, remember the issue of platform; if, for example, your audience is largely using their browser on a mobile device at the best time, push content optimized for those devices. Make a point of testing timing where possible, as there can be surprising moments where audiences are receptive to a news alert.
Reiterate And Test
Finally, remember that this is an ongoing process. As you gather metrics, as your audience opts to click or not on the notifications you send, as you test different times, you’ll gradually develop a more refined and accurate picture of your audiences and what engages them. A useful tool during this time will be A/B testing, where you alter one element of your notification to see if it outperforms your current usage. Constant testing will also ensure copy remains fresh and audiences don’t find your content “canned.”
This is just the beginning. Each organization’s approach will evolve over time, as every news organization serves a different audience with different needs. But with careful planning and constant testing, your organization can draw on the power of web-based push notifications. To see this power in action, get a free trial of Pushnami!
Five News & Broadcast Media Stats You Need to Know in 2018
Reporting still matters, but who’s reading?
The media landscape is changing rapidly, as outlets multiply and audiences fragment. And nowhere is this clearer than in the data collected by Pew’s State Of The News Media reports, which offer a perspective on how the media is changing and where it’s heading. Here are a few key statistics from their most recent collection of data, and what they mean.
Major Newspapers Have Seen Digital Grow By As Much As 46%
Even while physical circulation has declined, roughly 10% across weekday and Sunday editions for newspapers, digital circulation has begun to rise, substantially. The New York Times has independently reported increases in readership as high as 46% for the year ending in 2017, and 2016 saw enormous gains in readership as well. The internet is where the readers are, and newspapers need to use tools like web-based push notifications to get the attention of readers with the many online news options at their fingertips.
Local TV News Is Seeing Declines Of Up To 15%
Pew’s research has found that while the local evening news is stable, every other news slot, such as morning news and early-evening news, is beginning to see declines. Local news is still the king of televised information, in part because people care, deeply, about what’s happening in their area, but it’s clear that this advantage is beginning to erode. Local news needs to be proactive and start seeking out viewers on multiple platforms now, while they still hold a beachhead, or it may find itself in the same position as newspapers.
One of the biggest advantages modern local media has with Google is that it offers an intensely focused audience for local companies.
Any news outlet, regardless of format, should have a local SEO strategy that makes it easy for both members of the community and Google’s algorithms to find and rank their reporting. But this can go well beyond just good SEO techniques.
For example, a mix of local SEO and digital advertising can drive audiences to, for example, a newspaper’s profile of the local real estate market, or a radio interview with the CEO of a local business.
A Quarter Of Radio Listeners Also Listen To Podcasts
It should give you an idea of how powerful and ubiquitous radio is that, even now, Nielsen reports that 90% of Americans hear the radio at least once a day. Whether it’s music or news/talk is an ongoing industry dispute, and it’s also worth asking how much of that is genuinely heard, as opposed to just part of our ongoing audio world, but nonetheless, radio has a huge audience. Interestingly, though, podcasts are rapidly growing: 26% of Americans have listened to a podcast in the last month, and 17% in the last week, a figure that’s rapidly growing. In 2013, only 7% of Americans listened to a podcast in the last week. The future of radio is clearly, at least in part, in on-demand audio, and marketing channels like push notifications are often key to keeping audiences listening, both to live streams and to produced shows like podcasts.
We need reporters, but reporters need audiences.
Traditional Media Audiences Are Aging
One of the more important facts that everyone in the industry needs to be aware of is that audiences for terrestrial media are generally getting older. The median age of a cable news viewer ranges between 61 and 65. For Fox News, that number is above 65; nobody knows how far above for certain because the audience surveys generally stop at “65 or higher.” The common thread is Millennials don’t care about news, but the truth is just the opposite: The American Press Institute found 40% of Millennials pay for at least one news subscription, and that 85% find keeping up with the news is important to them. But they also don’t watch TV, sit down with a newspaper, or flip on a news/talk station. They get their news via digital channels.
Advertising Is Controlled By Tech Companies
Finally, the most important statistic, at least for ad-driven news companies, is that the digital advertising industry is dominated by tech companies like Google and Facebook. A collection of five tech companies own 65% of the digital advertising space. That means traditional media needs to be less dependent on these platforms, if they want to sell effective advertising, since they have no motivation to drive clicks or to offer a share of revenue. It’s no coincidence that public radio and television has seen increases in revenues and closed their funding gaps.
Traditional media need to build their own marketing platforms using tech companies, instead of relying on them for audience and revenue. Tools like push notifications will be the key way of building that audience, by bringing the news directly to the people who most want it. To see push notifications in action, sign up for a live demo of Pushnami!
The Ultimate Guide to Using Push Notifications for Your News or Broadcast Media
People still love the local news, but they need help finding it.
Both the opportunities and challenges of running a media business have never been greater. 10% of Americans still get their news from a physical newspaper, but that’s still a decline from a decade ago. Radio remains a news resource but shows a similar decline. And local TV news continues to be popular, but its audience is rapidly aging.
All of these problems have been offset, to some degree, by the rise of digital media. Even as TV news has struggled to keep its audience, the digital platforms of local stations have seen the gap close between their TV viewership and their online viewership, especially as platforms like YouTube make it quick, cheap, and efficient to upload and archive news clips.
Online radio is seeing an explosion in listeners, although it remains an open question just how to monetize that and better understand a rapidly segmenting audience. And newspapers have found that having both digital and print versions of their stories allow them to reach much wider audiences.
There are still points of contention in the media landscape. Digital media lets you know exactly how many views an article gets and streams a news broadcast racks up, but it doesn’t tell you who’s watching or why. Just how much digital advertising should cost, and the overall financial model, is under dispute. But it’s clear the future of media in all forms is on the internet, and browser-based push notifications are ideal tools to solve many of these problems.
The newspaper is still part of many morning rituals, but it’s not the only way to get news.
Why Push Notifications?
Web-based notifications should be part of any news organization’s marketing plan for a few key reasons. The first is that a notification is urgent.
Much like a headline or a top-of-the-hour alert, notifications are designed to communicate one clear idea in a way that compels your audience to click on it. In many cases, you’re already writing strong, compelling copy for notifications simply by giving your clip or your article a compelling headline.
Secondly, when you set up notifications through your website, they’re opt-in. Media buyers and media managers know all too well the “shotgun” approach, where you send a narrowly focused message to the widest number of people in the hopes that a handful will hear it. Notifications, instead, ask people to sign on based on their specific interests.
If, for example, you set up notifications for local sports, you know that your articles will be sent to the segment of your audience most interested in what the home team’s up to. That drives the core audience, and it also makes it more likely they’ll engage with the article, commenting on it, sharing it on social media, and telling friends about it.
Third, they set the stage to better understand your audience. Push notifications, through a number of methods like A/B testing and tracking clickthrough rate, offer hard data on what your audience engages with and what it doesn’t.
Over time, and paired with other web analytics and careful sifting of the data you collect, you’ll be able to better understand what approaches most appeal to your audience, and have a better understanding of who’s clicking on what and why. Push notifications also pair well with marketing channels like social media, allowing you to put your story in front of multiple audiences in a variety of ways.
Getting on air is just the start.
For audiences, push notifications are useful tools that let them pick and choose the content they most want to engage with, and instead of logging into your site and poking around to find articles, the articles are brought to them.
When you work in the informational sphere, it’s particularly important to reduce what analysts call “friction,” the number of steps it takes to present an audience member with what they’re seeking. This helps them get the news more efficiently and, just as important, see you as a news organization that gets them the stories that most matter to them.
Web push is particularly powerful here because it’s tied to a browser, not a phone or a desktop; so as long as your audience uses the same browser, they’ll get alerts on both their phone and their computer.
Increasing Audience With Push Notifications
One important factor to remember with push notifications is that they’re extremely flexible and you can configure them any number of ways.
Let’s take, for instance, local election coverage. You can set up push notifications in five minutes on any web page and configure them to, for example, offer coverage on the local mayoral races with one click.
This serves two purposes. First, for audiences that come to your site for very specific types of news, it’s a useful convenience; with one click, they’ll get regular updates.
Second, it tells you what topics your most engaged audience members find the most compelling, and helps you direct precious coverage resources more effectively. If your analytics point towards more interest in a local race, you can give your audience what they need to better grasp it.
The news is still important, but how will it reach its audience?
And since push notifications are granular, you can use them to cater to the “long tail” of your audience and understand interests and connections that may not reveal themselves otherwise. Demographics are useful, but they only tell you so much about who’s reading, listening, and watching.
As audiences have more options to get their news and their entertainment, it’s becoming clear that you need to understand audience members as people, not numbers, and notifications will help you better understand what motivates them.
Amping Up Your Marketing with Push Notifications
Notifications can also be used, of course, to boost subscriptions. The subscription model is increasingly gaining attention not just from print media, but also from radio and television.
In many cases, it’s a “story-behind-the-story” model where longer form interviews and more in-depth pieces are put behind a paywall. There are other approaches you can take, as well, and push notifications can help promote all of them.
The most obvious method, of course, is simply to occasionally push out an alert that your “free” users can subscribe and get more out of your website. You might try copy like:
- You’ve enjoyed 4 of 5 free articles this month. Click here to get more.
- Subscribe now and support local news!
But there are more subtle approaches you can use as well. For example, you can put the first part of a multi-part story up for free, push it out to audiences most likely to be interested, and then have the rest available behind a paywall, or push out each part earlier for subscribers:
- Be the first to get the full story with a subscription.
- Read the rest of the story with a full membership.
“On air” means on the internet, social media, podcasts…
Even public media can use push notifications. For example, you can run a push “pledge drive,” where making a donation through a push notification gets the patron an exclusive item. Or you can run a pre-pledge drive push campaign where subscribers can gift subscriptions or other donations to friends and family. It can also be useful when launching a new project, like a new podcast, as you can get it out to your most interested listeners early.
Another approach is providing access to archival material. A news/talk radio station, for example, might digitize its old recordings and make them available to historically minded audiences sorted by topic and who’s involved in the debate.
Being able to track a politician’s evolving stance, the victories and defeats of a local quarterback, or how a social debate has evolved in the area over the years can be a big driver for subscriptions and engagement.
This needs to be balanced with other revenue streams, of course, and push notifications are just one part of what will be a large, ongoing marketing initiative to get subscriptions up and to draw attention. But it can be a powerful tool to remind audiences of the value of local news.
We need the news!
There’s no one solution to the challenges facing local news. The simple truth is that as audiences become more discerning, and as their needs become more complex, even the savviest media outlet is going to spend quite a bit of time playing catch-up.
Any media outlet is going to need to look closely at multi-channel marketing, offering multiple approaches to its content, and will need to dig deep both into the stories that matter most to their audiences and better understanding the many different concerns each member of their audience has.
Push notifications will be a crucial piece of this process. They help any media organization find the audience members who most want to engage with them; let that audience sort themselves into different groups to help that organization better understand their most committed viewers, listeners, and readers; and opens the door to new promotional approaches and opportunities.
The world of news and media is constantly changing, and the organizations that stand to benefit from that the most are the ones that can embrace new technology to change with it. Push notifications are on the vanguard of that, allowing you to bring the news and the content that matters directly to the audience that most cares about it, and ensuring that they spread the word. To see the power of push notifications in local news, get a free trial of Pushnami!
Pushnami Tops 10 Billion Push Notifications
Pushnami, the leading AI powered cross-channel messaging platform, has reached its key benchmark nearly six months ahead of schedule. Thanks to a combination of cutting-edge technology and innovative customer approaches to browser-based push notifications, Pushnami has sent its 10 billionth push notification this July—a goal the company had originally been on track to achieve at the end of 2018. This achievement reflects the enormous growth and power of push notifications where customers ask to be notified, instead of signed up with an app.
Making the achievement even more impressive, as of April of this year the total number of notifications pushed was at 5.5 billion, leading it to almost doubling its volume in just two months’ time. “It is amazing to have hit our 2018 goal of 10 billion notifications by the beginning of July,” said Emerson Smith, CEO of Pushnami, “I want to thank our fantastic team and innovative clients for helping us reach this milestone.”
This milestone speaks to the increasing popularity of push notifications, which academics estimate to arrive at a rate of 50 to 100 per phone every day. As businesses and customers have become more aware of the effective uses of push notifications and the power of allowing customers to opt into receiving notifications, Pushnami has seen explosive growth with its simple-to-use platform.
Furthermore, Pushnami’s platform is permission based, ensuring that users who opt-in to the system truly want to receive notifications. The platform is also web based, instead of app based, allowing customers more options around where and how they get notifications. Expect 10 billion to be just the beginning, as Pushnami and its customers find new ways to expand the power of push notifications and other marketing channels.
Pushnami is the top AI powered cross-channel messaging platform, specializing in opt-in browser-based push notifications. Pushing over 10 billion notifications and counting, Pushnami is supported across all major browsers, and it makes installing push notification capability as simple as copying and pasting five lines of code. To learn more about Pushnami and the power of browser-based push notifications, visit Pushnami.com/features.