Russmedia turns local data into useful content, increased revenue with app

By Gerold Riedmann

Our bet: News is not enough. We could deliver so much more useful information to our users than just the news. And that usefulness adds loyalty and leads to higher usage. 

Digital pocket knife: VOL.AT’s new app and mobile Web version were built around the idea of being useful as a digital pocket knife for our users. Not vast arrays of data, but precious pieces of information right when you need them most – and all presented with a journalistic twist. Tools that make life in the westernmost Austrian state of Vorarlberg easier.

Jobs to be done: Following the “Jobs to be done” concept of Harvard professor Clayton Christensen, the VOL.AT labs team added a whole range of regional data driven live service channels to the app that initially only carried news.

From a super-detailed weather service to cheap gas prices, public transport information, highway cameras, speed camera warnings or traffic information, VOL.AT strives to be the “database of the region.” Every service takes advantage of the built-in possibilities of smartphones like GPS or other sensors.

Innovation (WhatsApp sharing): If users have no reason to return to an App, they won’t. So we had to work for maximum value und usability to give various reasons. And VOL.AT talks not only in the language of our younger audience, but offers functions that aim to younger readers like the integrated WhatsApp sharing for news articles, a first-timer in the whole German-speaking market. 

Many channels, one technology: To service the different operating systems and delivery channels we’ve built all of the services and most of the app in HTML5. This allows us to use the same code in apps, browsers — both on Android, iOS, and Windows.

Wherever the limitations of HTML5 stand in the way of delivering a perfect app feel, we switch to native programming, making the use of our app super fast. We’ve been way longer in our regional market than Google has been. So we’re digging deeper in the region than Google ever can — to stay in the relevant mindsets of apps.

Strategy delivers results: The results of VOL.AT’s new mobile app and Web version have been overwhelming. The launch tripled the app usage. The mobile homepage impressions (a great KPI for heavy usage) doubled within days. VOL.ATs app was No. 1 in the Austrian app stores news categories, beating all national portals and newspapers.

The new mobile ad formats of the VOL.AT app include swipeable cube ads, app promotion ads, native ads, and IAB-standard ads. The app is on its way to more than double the mobile revenue of VOL.AT in 2014. 

The app is now being rolled out to all of Russmedia’s regional news outlets among Austria, Hungary and Romania — and to our publishing partners.

About Gerold Riedmann

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