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Forget Mobile Web vs. Apps—Why Bloomberg Needs Both for Growth

January 20, 2017 | Mobile | Mobile | Media Buying


M. Scott Havens
Global Head of Digital
Bloomberg Media

Bloomberg’s website attracts the majority of its mobile audience, but the publisher reaches its most engaged users through its app. eMarketer’s Tricia Carr spoke with M. Scott Havens, global head of digital at Bloomberg Media, about what drives the most engagement across mobile web and apps.

eMarketer: How do Bloomberg’s mobile web and mobile app audiences compare?

M. Scott Havens: Right now on our owned-and-operated properties, our mobile web audience is roughly six times the size of our mobile app audience in terms of monthly users.

On the other hand, the mobile app user generates 25 times the page views per month than the average mobile web user. Our mobile app users end up generating more page views even though they’re a sixth the size of the mobile web audience.

“The mobile app user generates 25 times the page views per month than the average mobile web user.”

eMarketer: What are the biggest drivers of traffic to your mobile site vs. your app?

Havens: The entry points are vastly different, and that’s why there’s a disparity [in audience size]. On the mobile web, people come to our website through search and social for the most part. [We use Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages], and we’ve seen some growth in traffic from mobile search since Google favors AMP stories.

Once we form relationships with people, we encourage them to download the app. On one level, the mobile web is a conduit to the app. We use it as a way to introduce the site to people and hopefully drive them to download the app, where they can consume our content in a faster, easier, more personalized way.

eMarketer: What factors play into the time spent on your mobile site and app?

Havens: The primary use case for mobile web is people see an article in their Facebook News Feed, they click, hopefully they read more than a paragraph and if we’re lucky, they share it and click on a few ads. Then they go back to Facebook. We get durations of time spent from a few seconds to a minute or two.

People go to the mobile app because they have time to spend there. They might have their portfolio stored with us, or they want to read the top business news. The time spent in a session on the app is anywhere from five to 25 times more than mobile web.

eMarketer: What capabilities on mobile help increase traffic and time spent?

Havens: Notifications are important. Major news stories drive a tremendous amount of engagement when they’re pushed through not only our own app notifications, but platforms like Apple News.

The downside is that if you get too aggressive with notifications, people turn them off. If you use them respectfully for big news or relevant, personalized news, people will engage with them.

Apple’s Spotlight feature is also interesting. People can swipe left on their iPhones to get those highlights from Apple News. These widgets offer exposure to millions of consumers and can drive tremendous traffic.

“If publishers want to use messaging apps, they have to adapt their approach dramatically to be in a conversation with the user.”

eMarketer: Are there any emerging technologies that could boost traffic and time spent?

Havens: Yes, voice-activated personal assistants and other artificial intelligence that can provide personalized news. These technologies might help increase usage and engagement with third-party providers.

The idea that you have to open the Bloomberg app to do something might seem antiquated in five years. Maybe you have the Bloomberg app installed and you say, “Bloomberg, give me an update on my portfolio” or “Bloomberg, what are the top five headlines in business?” and we provide that in whatever format you want: audio, video, on your device, email notification or text.

eMarketer: Do you see potential in messaging apps or chatbots?

Havens: I don’t think messaging apps should be the domain of publishers necessarily when we think about reaching out to our customers. My view is that if publishers want to use messaging apps, they have to adapt their approach dramatically to be in a conversation with the user vs. bombarding them with articles. That’s where artificial intelligence comes in.

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