Mobile measurement is critical to informing our overall mobile strategy at Telegraph Media Group here in London. 

Understanding subscribers’ reading behaviours has enabled us to successfully deploy and enhance our “Telegraph for iPad” app and to identify new opportunities to monetise through mobile advertising. This helps inform us on important decisions around the type of content, the times of day when content is consumed, the depth of engagement, and overall subscriber loyalty and retention.

Our approach was considered and methodical, starting with the launch of a free app and measuring initial activity. It then moved on to a new paid/bundled version, and we are now exploring what this mobile channel may mean for advertisers going forward.

Instead of trial and error, we guide our app development and mobile offering with key metrics, as agencies and advertisers are demanding a more targeted mobile audience, and readers have come to expect mobile news access in differing ways.

 So, we undertook a three-stage process. As an Englishman, I consider TEA an important part of my day! Well, TEA is also important when it comes to our app development. Not a cup of tea this time, but a three-stage process I call TEA (Trial, Engagement, and Advertising).

Step One: Trial (for “proof of concept” and understanding reader behaviours.)

At The Telegraph, we offered our first iPad version as a six-month free trial. Measuring reader behaviour during this period revealed several key findings, such as:

  • Time-starved readers wanted curated news: just the important stories tailored to the iPad.

  • iPad usage did not replace media consumption, but complemented it; 25% of iPad users said their usage was in addition to other media and the app drove loyalty and retention.

  • The Telegraph was able to improve our readers’ experience by observing how they navigated on the iPad.

  • There were more Telegraph iPad users over the age of 50 than any other demographic. This finding let us focus on smartphones and the Web for campaigns/content aimed at younger readers, since the iPad app users tended to be older.

Readers also told us they liked the conspicuous editorship (the article curation) and key elements of the clean design in the iPad app. Those elements conveyed a sense of expertise used to save time and to present only the content readers valued most.

Examining the time of day when users accessed The Telegraph with their iPads revealed a second spike in the evening. With that in mind, we introduced a night-reading mode, turning the iPad into a true lean-back device users read in bed.

Step Two: Engagement (for building mass and volume and developing greater engagement.)

We launched the second edition of our iPad app six months after the initial version. Readers subscribe to this, still current version, which is also still a curated version of the newspaper, but it provides more in-depth coverage and uses ads strategically. We measure several key metrics, including page views, number of visits, time of day of visits, day of week, app version, most-read stories, etc. 

Beyond curating specific stories, we recognised the iPad is better at in-depth coverage for some stories (with video, for instance) compared with print. We began offering full-page interstitials and are always looking at different ad formats and ways of selling them, (presently, by ad impressions).

Measuring all this helps advertisers know what they are buying when they make ad placements in the iPad app — all aided by analytics, case studies, and data. The idea is to position the business around the needs of readers and advertisers — a very consumer centric approach.

Step Three: Advertising (to help advertisers understand what works best on mobile tablets and to show brands the power of tablet advertising.)

We want to help advertisers learn what types of ads work best with their iPad readers. We also want to show brands how powerful tablet ads can be. The data obtained from analytics let advertisers create more effective ads and help brands make real and engaging connections with our readers.

Over time, I am sure we will try out new sections and new types of ad shapes for the app to see what works best. The industry will eventually have to create standards for iPad ads like it has for Web and smartphones.

Measurement standards will be key to that process. Metrics will be increasingly important. It’s very important that we go to market with a clear and transparent analytic package to aid our client decision-making.