The New Yorker also dove head-first into mobile and tablet apps to increase stickiness. The ‘flagship’ New Yorker app is admittedly not very good. It’s fine. However, it’s essentially just a repository for their print editions. With a subscription, you can log in, download a previous print edition, and start reading.
If you already subscribe to the Print version, there’s basically no use for the app.
The app’s function is an additional problem. Sure, flipping through it is fairly easy. However, some of their in-depth features might take hardcore readers an hour to read.
Using the app can feel like a fairly big commitment. So they’ve been iterating for years with different ‘bite-sized’ ideas to continue solving stickiness.
For example, in 2015 they tested a new feature that would introduce a “Read Later” option if you couldn’t finish reading an article at that time.
This way, you could receive an email immediately or in the next few days to let you know exactly where you left off (and where to pick up reading again).
Their primary mobile app is also an upgrade on the print edition by introducing interactivity, video, and other frequently updated content.
Back in 2011, they debuted the GOINGS ON app that was focused more on highlighting the local city’s culture.
It took the magazine’s long-standing “Goings On About Town” section, that exclusively featured New York City events, restaurants, bars, movies, nightlife, theater, and more, and made it completely free.
A digital version allows people to scan or search under each category. They can use helpful star review, special callouts for time-sensitive updates, and even maps that leverage a phone’s GPS to direct people to each location listed.
This way, you got not just subscribers but also potential new customers to get in the habit of constantly referring back to the app for new information.
In April of 2016, The New Yorker was at it again with a new ‘Today’ app. This time, the content was updated to show the most popular stories of each day.
NewYorker.com editor Nicholas Thompson told Nieman Labs that “The goal is to get more New Yorker readers coming back every day — and, hopefully, convince more of them to subscribe.”
An onus was placed on quickness. Stories are kept shorter than the magazine’s in-depth features, requiring only a few minutes to finish.
It’s also incredibly minimal. There are a few of the day’s latest stories, with new ones refreshing every few hours. There’s a bookmarking tool to help people save their progress or remember where they left off. And that’s about it.
Except, of course, for a convenient way to subscribe (if you haven’t already). The app taps (pun intended) into Apple Pay to both simplify and expedite mobile purchases.
Some reports say that 84% of people’s mobile time is spent inside an app.
Yet, mobile app retention is pretty abysmal across the board.
Publishers often make the mistake of effectively copying their website into an app (like The New Yorker’s print-style one). As a result, people download it. They might sign up. But they leave, never to return over the next few days.
They’ve already outlived the experience. There’s no compelling reason to return day after day, week after week, month after month.
The New Yorker’s foray into the GOINGS ON and Today apps, along with features designed to pull you back after leaving, show they’re focused on providing sticky experiences to customers designed to retain them as long as possible.