For a while, our news site in Cologne, Germany, only published an e-paper app in Android and iOS app stores. With the foremost goal to reduce subscriber churn, we decided to develop a news app as a more convenient way to use our regional news portal, ksta.de.
Data suggests that power users of news Web sites, in particular, want apps. Thus, introducing an app would benefit our most frequent users.
This led us to wanting to launch a product that could be released quickly and would also be able to satisfy our subscriber base from the very beginning.
This is why we used the MVP (minimum viable product) approach. We had already had established the goal of being a regional news market leader, so we wanted to focus our regional news content in the app. However, we also strived for a high-end design, as the app is our main focus for reaching subscriber growth and reduced churn.
Frequent exchanges between project management, external developers, and the editorial team were at the core of the project started in 2021, accompanied by product acceptance tests.
Our idea of putting a personalisation feature very prominently on the home screen of the app was tested and got high marks. The design was loved by users and editorial staff from the very beginning.
After those positive results from user testing, we focused on getting the app published as quickly as possible. We put up a road map of features with the flexibility to react to user feedback.
Quickly after launching, we prioritised new features with user feedback coming in. For example, we optimised the tablet mode of the app and introduced a dark mode only after we had launched, prioritised by our readers’ feedback.
We launched in mid-December 2021 and quickly had more than 35,000 downloads — way more than our digital-only subscriber count. We not only reached our current reader base, but many more interested readers who were very happy. We currently stand at 4.5 stars in the App Store.