The big challenge is to reach and hold the user with our content. To that end, we are always looking for the next bit of breaking news, the exclusive story, or the first interview.

But is this, from a user perspective, the right content strategy?

Are we on the best path to deliver the best content/product, which is so valuable we can bill it to the digital customer?

A look at the current Google Play download hit list shows us news aggregators are the most successful news apps. Brands such as The New York Times or local news brands follow — after a significant gap.

What explains this phenomenon? There are three main reasons behind the success of news aggregators:  

  1. “Save my time.” Multiple content sources gathered in one place saves the consumer’s time. If you are using a news aggregator app, you can choose an average of five to 10 high-quality content sources in each channel, e.g. business, sports, or technology.

    All sources and content are presented in nearly the same design and layout. The user does not need to think about the different navigation or channel structures of each source.

  2. “Let me have fun with real mobile usability.” Maybe because they have little or no brand history, news aggregators need to look for other features to make the point. Yahoo Daily or the new Facebook app, Paper, are presenting a pure mobile user experience.

    The concept is based on finger swipes, which is totally different than other news brands, which copy the classic online navigation concept in miniature. To open and close an article or to swipe from one to another is fun for the user.

  3. “Here and now.” Timeline and localisation. Mobile usage, more than anything, exists in the context of time and place. Smartphones can be localised, and the content can be presented in the two most important order criteria: a) Where did it happen? and b) When did it happen?

The time stamp on a piece of news content is usually much more important to mobile users than the editorial quality or the significance of the news.

News brands can’t and shouldn’t compete in all of these three main success fields. But they can learn from the news aggregators by listening to their users. 

Digital users are looking for inspiring and entertaining products. Make your content relevant!