The past year and a half has supplied us with many breaking news worthy moments. There’s been natural disasters, a presidential election, and of course Covid19.

It has been an exceptionally busy time for news publications, but also an incredibly important one for them to capitalise on. There is a massive reliance on these publications to supply consumers with reliable and timely information.

There is a real appetite for breaking news, and not just when it comes to politics or world affairs. For example, over the last few weeks people have been very interested in the Olympics and how their country is performing. 

Breaking news alerts can be a deciding factor on where a person goes for their news. Every other publication will be trying to get there first. So being that fraction of a second slower to send out your breaking news notification could have a big impact on your number of readers.

We have seen in recent years that the digital media space has been saturated with publishing sites all over the world vying for eyeballs.  You aren’t just competing with brands in your geography, but with other publications like The Washington Post for example.

What’s the point of a breaking news alert? Drive traffic to your website or into your app. It’s all about delivering on that KPI. And that’s so important to publishers because advertising revenue is what’s keeping them afloat largely.

What channel is best?

In this circumstance, mobile push notifications would be the best way to go. The speed at which they are sent and received is second to none and people generally have a mobile device on them at all times.

When it comes to a breaking news alert, we have found that the average CTR for a mobile push notification is just over 7%. However it’s not uncommon to see a CTR of 10% and above when related to high-profile news events.

And remember, pushes can be sent to a mobile device through an app or from your mobile website.

Mobile usage over the last few years has been steadily increasing. In 2020, 68.1% of all website visits came from mobile devices. Only 28.9% of visits came through desktop. When it came to visits by device in 2020, the majority of website visitors in the news and publishing sector was through mobile devices.

Breaking news alerts sent as a mobile notification also means that it is sent directly to the reader. It gives you the best chance of reaching your audience no matter where they are or what they’re doing. As well as this, it gives the reader the easiest way of getting to your breaking news article.

Although mobile push notifications would be the quickest and best performing channel, it is important to also keep web push notifications in mind as well. 

Plenty of people still use their desktop or laptop as a way of keeping up to date with news, so it is important that they are communicated with as well.

And the thing with push is, it’s an opt-in channel. So it’s a chance to engage with loyal, interested readers. It’s another way to build up a readership online, one which you can regularly connect with and secure a consistent number of visitors for each article

In the context of the pandemic, with more people working from home, there has been a swing back towards more use of desktop devices to shop and read online.

Sending Your Notifications

Of course when it comes to sending breaking news alerts, it is important to get your notification out as quickly as possible. However when it comes to sending out a more general or non-urgent message, the best time to do it is in the morning.

Engaging with your readers through a push notification between 9am and 10am can increase reader activation by 15% throughout the day.

Real-time delivery capabilities are vital here. If there’s a delay in the message going out then you may miss out on capturing that audience.

It’s also worth noting that in addition to competing with other publishers, you are also competing with social media. There are plenty of platforms and pages where people share news articles all day long. This complicates the publishing battleground even further.

Driving Traffic

As important as it is to get readers to your app over others, only sending users breaking news alerts is not the most effective way of driving traffic back to your app in the long run.

The industry is gearing more towards pushing articles out to users over the course of a whole day, rather than leaning on breaking news. A tactic that publications are starting to use is sending follow up notifications that relate to a previous breaking news story.

Using reader data

The publishing & media industry is making good use of their users’ data to send personalised messages and articles that suit their taste. 

Audience segmentation is incredibly important for the industry. The ability to tag articles with different categories and make sure that only people who are interested in politics get those pushes is an incredibly useful tool.

This is a much better way of turning the odd reader into a full time reader of your publication 

as they would constantly be shown news articles they have previously shown an interest in.

RTE have recently seen great results in their use of data.Their objective was to increase user engagement and drive repeat visitors. Since working with Xtremepush, their user base has grown by 5.5%, and the breaking news alerts have played a serious role in this.

The results we’ve seen from working with RTE certainly proves that a perfectly timed and delivered breaking news alert is an important part of driving readers to your app or website.

What’s next?

Xtremepush is the world’s leading platform for publishers looking to make better connections with their readers. We’re helping brands around the world to better understand and engage with potential subscribers, giving them the tools and the guidance they need to automate nurture funnels and deliver personalised content.