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How Publishers Can Push For Reader Attention

Feb 11 2014, 6:43am CST | by

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How Publishers Can Push For Reader Attention

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How Publishers Can Push For Reader Attention

I am obsessed with the disruption of media delivery. When Hitched was first conceived we were going to produce a print and online product—this was in the early 2000s when print was already beginning its downward slide—I still have a couple boxes of dead-tree prototypes laying around. In short order we realized the expense of producing and delivering print was going up while readers were shifting to newer, faster digital delivery methods. From social networks to e-newsletters, the method with which publishers get their content to readers continues to get cheaper and faster—making it all the more difficult for a single publisher to be heard since the barrier to entry is low enough for the masses (i.e., bloggers and citizen journalists) to participate. With the rise of smartphones, another new dispatch disrupter has taken hold and become my latest delivery obsession… push notifications.

A study titled “The Ultimate Guide to the Next Big Wave in Mobile: The Home Screen,” published in December 2013 from mobile messaging platform Mobile Posse, and market research firm Phoenix Marketing International, found that consumers pick up their smartphones nearly 100 times a day and spend 26% of their time looking at the home screen. That’s prime real estate if you can get your message on there—one of the troubles, though, is that you’re competing with just about every app on the phone, not just other publishers. One other bright spot is that users who spend more than 30 minutes a day using their phones for Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn still spend over 20% of their time on the home screen—an opportunity for you to be seen.

The study found that one of the biggest reasons people pick up their phone and spend so much time on the home screen is because they have a fear of missing something. More women (57%) than men (44%) immediately check their notifications when they pick up their phone, but overall 51% of all users check their notifications first thing in fear they may have missed something. Not surprisingly, there’s a difference in age too. Only 27% of users older than 45 years of age will immediately pick up their phone after getting alerted of a notification, whereas 40% of user younger than 34 will do so.

So what are all the notifications people are getting? The average person is set up to receive at least one alert from eight of the 14 categories the study tracked, and 19% are set up to receive an alert from every category. The highest number of users getting an alert is for missed calls (92%), followed by text messages (88%), and e-mail (81%). When it comes to content, 65% are set up for social alerts, 46% get news, 37% for sports, and 32% (the lowest percentage for all categories) get notifications for entertainment news.

Where I believe this gets real interesting is on the desktop. The latest version of Apple OS X Mavericks allows websites to send push notifications through the Safari browser even when the browser is closed. I’ve noticed a few websites I frequent using this new feature, with more adding push notifications just about every week. Some of these publishers, like push multiple notifications throughout the day, while others like the are more judicious, sending just one or no notifications in a day.

Like all things that grab our attention today, it’s only a matter of time before every publisher is pushing multiple notifications through the web everyday until readers tune them out or turn them off. In the meantime, mobile and desktop push notifications have my attention.

Source: Forbes


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