It isn’t difficult to notice the influence mobile devices have in the modern world – smartphones and tablets are being used everywhere, all the time. We are all becoming increasingly reliant on mobile technology, with recent studies showing that the average user is on their smartphone for around two hours a day. This year for the first time smartphones have overtaken desktops as the most popular way to access the internet, and apps alone account for a significant amount of that traffic. It’s clear that mobile technology is growing rapidly, and it’s a growth that’s unlikely to stop anytime soon.
This rise in the popularity of mobile poses a new set of challenges for institutions as they consider how best to communicate with members. Communicating with members through print alone suddenly feels outdated. If institutions ignore digital channels they run the risk of failing to meet the expectations of members and will fall behind in the technology stakes. Yet whilst emails, website updates and social media are all excellent channels for engaging with members digitally, they don’t offer the same user experience as a membership magazine. It’s here that an interactive app could provide the answer.
A mobile app allows members to access the institution’s publications and information wherever they are, whenever they want. Members get the benefit of instant access to past publications, as well as features which simply aren’t possible in print – for example, social media sharing and interactive multimedia content. The Physics World app by the Institution of Physics incorporates podcasts to give digital subscribers additional content to their print counterparts. Other apps, like People Management from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, and Professional Engineering from the Institute of Mechanical Engineers feature search and social media sharing so that members can find content that’s relevant to them, and then share it within their networks.
Not only this, but institutions can choose the way they send content to their audience, either by bundling it up into traditional periodical editions, or by sending a continuously updating stream of content, or even mixing the two models together. In this way, readers get the cover to cover reading experience they are familiar with, while also getting up to the minute breaking news as it unfolds.
And it’s not just features within the app that can drive engagement. Capabilities like push notifications mean that institutions can promote new content to members and by segmenting user databases institutions can send targeted notifications based on user behaviour and preferences. It’s really through this combination of interactive features and the careful use of direct engagement with readers that an app can offer new ways for institutions to engage with their members and provide a unique user experience that ultimately drives member retention.
But ultimately, the most important thing when creating and maintaining new communications channels for your audience is to do it all without piling on extra cost and effort, and that’s where we come in. You can create apps with Pugpig in as little as a day and publishing your content into your apps across iOS, Android and the web takes no time at all. This means that you don’t have think in terms of how this replaces your existing channels, but how it compliments them. And if your goal is to reduce the cost of printing and distribution, then this is a great way start on that journey.