May 23, 2015
by Will Sullivan
The pioneering mobile-first MBN Digital Team
The digital team at Alhurra has found an effective way to easily, free and smartly grow their audience from content they are already producing: Push Notifications.
They sent their first push when Nelson Mandela passed away in December of 2013, and continue to do it at the present time and over time have found that besides driving people to read stories more in the award-winning Alhurra apps, but sending pushes they can generate surges in mobile web, desktop web and social media traffic to stories they chose to push, as well as drive new app installations.
Below is one of the best and unique examples from Alhurra, one of the most digitally-first minded BBG entities, proving a story that did “ok” when it was initially published on the web can explode in popularity 2 days later on the mobile website and social media — from a simple nudge via their mobile app Push Notification.
Alhurra published this story about how ISIS makes its money on August 25th:
Two days after publishing it on originally on the web, they sent it out by Push Notification through the Alhurra app and it drove:
- 112,000 more pageviews on mobile
- 25,000 more pageviews on desktop
- There were more than 12,700 social shares for the story on Facebook and Twitter
How did they start engineering these social and mobile web surges?
1- First, create the audience expectation by being consistent and regularly deliver value with your pushes. The Alhurra web team sends out a Push Notification for a relevant and important news story at a strategic time during the day when the audience is awake and active (Some days they’ll send several Push Notifications to different stories, especially as important news breaks on busier days or as a huge story is updated with new information). The critical part of this is to be consistent and make sure you’re not just pushing every story to push stories. They should be important and interesting stories that deliver value for your audience or they will turn off notifications. Push is a very personal tool, so be careful and mindful of your audience’s needs, interests and time of day.
2- Alhurra App audience members get the breaking news Push Notification on their device and read the story in the Alhurra application.
3- If the audience members like the story or think others would be interested, they easily share it on their social networks, like Facebook and Twitter, and through email using the Alhurra application.
4- The audience member’s friends and followers then see the story, interact with it and potentially share it too, creating an amplifying effect. Bonus incentive: Also, if audience members open the story on a mobile web browser, they will be prompted to install the Alhurra App, which also helps grow the App audience.
5- This snowballs and helps drive more and more traffic by social media, mobile web sharing and app installs — all originating from Alhurra’s smart and very engaged Push Notification strategy, and also driving new app installs to interested users.
Bonus Alternative Method for Re-Engaging App Users: Another way to get users to re-engage with the application after installing it is promoting the apps Home Screen Widgets, which allow users to get the latest headlines from their preferred service easily, without launching the app. Users can even customize which category sections and how frequently the Home Screen Widget should update. Android is currently live and supports this and in the Umbrella 3.1 version of the apps, we’ll add support for automatically feeding our news into the Apple Notification center widgets for Apple devices, further expanding the reach of the BBG entity’s content.
All of the BBG entities (and anyone building apps) can learn and optimize their workflow for this tool to create a force multiplier of audience growth. Learn more about the BBG mobile app products at:
ODDI Mobile Release Manager, Bo Kostro, and Billy Sabatini, Marwan Sadiq and the MBN Digital team helped with the creation of this best practice report.
(This is one of my blog posts from the BBG Innovation Series blog that I’m cross-posting here to keep an archive and share knowledge.)