Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Time for a change on the mobile app?

I've probably retweeted a dozen articles in the last couple of months about how the digital audience is moving to mobile devices and away from both print and the web. So it's a little discouraging to see The Orion's audience at Chico State using the paper's mobile app at about 6 percent of the rate it uses (2,428 visits in March versus 39,260).

It's hard to know exactly why. Only 1,269 people have downloaded the app, so that explains a lot. The chart above shows the number of downloads since The Orion's mobile app was launched in September 2013. The big jump happened when the paper's PR team ran a "download our app, win an iPad" contest. So doing more marketing could be part of the solution to better numbers.

The Orion's app users clearly are interested in getting news on their phones and tablets. Here's how the traffic broke down in March by channel:

Maybe improving the rest of the content (and how it's presented) in other areas is a one way to build traffic.

Most Orion managers think it's time for a change. They'd like to move away from the paper's current mobile app vendor, iCampusTimes, to a different service. They don't like the current system's lack of flexibility and features.
•  Here's a slideshow of the way other campuses are using iCampusTimes.
• And here's a gallery of mobile websites that use one of the companies The Orion is looking at as a possible replacement. (You'll need to scroll down to see the links to individual sites.)

I'd be interested in hearing what you think about the current app, how The Orion is using it and suggestions for how the paper's mobile effort can be improved. Do you agree it's time to start over with a new company? Just leave a comment below.



  1. Yes, I think it's time to start over and try something new. This change might be what The Orion needs to continue moving forward in the digital age. Plus, it looks like it would be really cool!

  2. I really like the idea of changing the app. The possible replacement looks more streamlined and easy to use than the current app.

  3. With the amount of modern features Good Barber offers, like a comment feature, it's clear we should find a replacement.

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  5. The Orion needs to move to a client that puts more ownership in its customers hands. With Good Barber, and other companies we may consider, it gives us complete control. We need an app that will be more user friendly and allows for us to create interactive features that will keep readers engaged and increase our analytics.