News media is a fiercely competitive industry in every country. In Poland, just like in other countries, publishers such as Onet compete for acquiring new readers, grabbing their attention, and retaining them. What it takes to stand out in the marketplace is great immersive experiences and strong tech foundations.

Onet was on the way to this with a great app we had built, which over the course of a year was being used daily by our readers as their go-to app for breaking news. Our app was head to head with competitors in Poland. But that was not good enough for us.

We realised that while we had successfully built the core experience of the app, it was not enough to leapfrog the competition and provide our users with what we call the “wow” moment.

Our company underwent a digital transformation of the way we create new products — going from a desktop-first model to designing for mobile-first or mobile-native. One element of this programme was focused on creating a news app for Onet from scratch.

Onet's new app focused on its mobile-first user engagement, with audio controls and seamless integration.
Onet's new app focused on its mobile-first user engagement, with audio controls and seamless integration.

This new app had to embrace the most common needs of mobile news media users: breaking news, quality content, fast load, error proof, and data that was planned efficiently for video consumption.

We asked our users how, when, and why they were using our app. Part of that research revealed that our audience was often unable to consume our content because of their changing environments. Morning commuting that may involve subways, driving a car, or walking resulted in a news consumption experience that was not seamless.

We knew that our new app needed to be hands free, and so we decided that our “wow” moment would be voice controls and audio consumption of news and articles.

 

It was imperative for us to incorporate the obvious — but not trivial — features such as content sharing, fast app loading, and a state-of-the-art experience with everyday news consumption. We focused on a number of factors including:

  • Daily needs (weather, mail, television).
  • Video in feed consumption format for short, breaking news.
  • Sharing and referrals from lists of articles.
  • A different design for different news categories (breaking news vs. lifestyle, etc.)
  • More social sharing integration.
  • Audio commands like “Onet, read!” and article audio reading that was built into the DNA of the app experience.

When we published our new app built internally from scratch, it helped us understand the core values that we want to provide to our users. Once the app was on the marketplace, we:

  • Grew more than 60% year over year in user downloads.
  • Grew more than 40% in MAU and DAU.
  • Became the No. 1, top-rated news app in Poland.

“Wow” moments helped our users unlock app value, and helped us leapfrog over the competition.