Apple News App is Turning Consumers and Publishers Off with this Problem
Undeniably, one of the best things that Apple has done to the news curation market is to make it bigger by convincing publishers that being curated—and curation itself—is actually a good thing. Several years back many publishers hated the idea of appearing on an aggregation app as it is akin to being plagiarized, as aggregators don’t really compensate publishers like in any normal content partnership or syndication deal. Still, Apple is Apple, and being associated with this giant brand gives one some sort of reputation boost, too.
However, despite Apple News’ success, it has fallen short on one aspect: no one in the company knows the exact traffic numbers of the app. This comes as quite a surprise to industry observers as any digitally savvy publisher knows that the bounce rates, the quality of the users’ visits and their session length are parameters that cannot be ignored.
“There is one major problem: Neither media companies nor Apple knows how many people are reading. The company mistakenly has been underestimating the number of readers using the News app since its launch, and passing that inaccurate information on to publishers,” reported Jack Marshall of The Wall Street Journal.
The accurate tally of hits accumulated through and within the app is essential since it would let them determine if their ad targeting is effective. “Apple allows publishers to keep 100 percent of revenue when they sell their own ads into the app; they keep 70 percent of ad revenue if Apple sells ads on their behalf,” expounded Marshall. Hence, being oblivious to these numbers is like trusting the app blindly, and this could potentially hurt the deal between the publishers and curator itself.
“We’re in the process of fixing that now, but our numbers are lower than reality. We don’t know what the right number is,” but he added that it was better to undercount than over-count traffic,” admitted Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services.
Such quandary could have also affected Born2Invest, the first and only multilingual news curation app for business and finance on the market. “That’s what we are and have been trying to avoid,” revealed Born2Invest Founder Dom Einhorn. “As a new player on the app market trying to build a reputation in a new, lucrative niche, accurate and precise data are our only way to convince giant publishers that being on our app is an advantage.”
Indeed, the app has enjoyed an unexpected number of downloads and good reviews across social media in spite of being live for only almost six months. “The success the app has obtained proves that people—business news readers, finance enthusiasts, investors—love the app and that we are capable of widening a site’s readership in a manner no curator could ever pull off. “Imagine being curated in more than 25 languages—that alone is pretty big,” Einhorn added.
Currently, Born2Invest is the sole player in the multilingual business and finance news curation market. Einhorn also revealed that the company is working on becoming available in more languages before 2016 ends. “Our goals it to curate and translate international contents into over 50 languages, as well as to make them read in 150 markets—in simpler terms, we want to be ‘truly global,’” he added.
On the other hand, Apple reiterates that the number of News users is continuously growing—now at 40 million—despite the precise data analysis lacuna. “The traffic has been modest relative to the enormous install base of iOS devices,” revealed Julie Hansen, president of Business Insider. The site is cross-publishing all of its content on Apple News.
At present, Apple News is available only iOS-run devices in the US, the UK, and Australia. If the company wants to be a global leader in the content dissemination niche, or if it also is planning to curate non-English content down the road, which is very likely, fixing the slight glitch in its system is the first step.
The company is also reportedly mulling over expanding its reach by finally allowing iOS users to shift selected data such as music, photo, and contacts to Android-powered gadgets. This is major news to those who remain loyal to Apple but silently cringing over its chauvinism over creating an Apple-only ecosystem.