The 3 Key Ingredients For Breaking News Alerts

Matt Price Principal Solutions Engineer

2020 has seen no shortage of breaking news. Whether it’s the global pandemic, the polarized political landscape or natural disasters, this year has delivered more newsworthy events than any year I can remember. In the midst of this most active news cycle, consumers rely on reputable and timely news sources more than ever.   

For these consumers, how quickly they get breaking news alerts is more than imperative. It can be the deciding factor on where they go for their news.

For Media brands, meeting these changing consumer expectations and growing their customer base requires three key ingredients for breaking news alerts: Speed, Channels and Preference Controls

Speed Is Imperative

It may seem obvious that speed is important to delivering break news, but how important is it? And how much does it affect engagement and opens?

The answer: more than you think. To assess the impact for one of our clients, a major U.S. news source, we analyzed both direct response rates (users that tapped on a breaking news notification) and indirect response rates (users that opened the app shortly after receiving a breaking news alert) to see if speed made a difference. The results were impressive.

We found that breaking news alerts received within two minutes of a major news event have a 2X higher engagement rate over alerts received by users after two minutes. Notifications sent within two minutes saw a direct response rate of almost 4%, while the notifications sent after two minutes went down to a 2% direct response rate. That’s doubling the number of eyes that will open up the app and see the content. 

We also found that the two-minute window is where mostengagement happens for breaking news notifications. The data also showed that 98% of total direct responses came from the users who received the notification in less than two minutes. Clearly, speed is a key ingredient! 

Channels Matter 

When it comes to digital media consumption, consumers rely on an ever-increasing number of channels to get their news.  Having a great app engagement strategy is key to providing a good user experience. But mobile is just one component of a great media engagement strategy.  

An omni-channel approach ensures you can reach your audience on the channel that’s most convenient to them—so they don’t miss essential news. Solutions that make it easier to coordinate those channels on one platform can make it easier and quicker to send important messages. 

An often overlooked channel is web notifications. Consumers still look to media websites as a primary source for staying informed, and web notifications are a great way to engage those website visitors.

The Importance of Preferences 

In the effort to reach your audience quickly across multiple channels, you don’t want to push your audience away by over messaging or sending irrelevant content. The key is allowing consumers to dial in their preferences for messaging.  

According to a two-wave experiment conducted by University of Texas Center for Media Engagement, respondents reported that the frequency of notification and untailored content are what consumers like least about notifications. Somewhat less surprisingly, relevant content and useful information is what they like the most. 

The more that your audiences can control their preferences, the more they will engage with your content. Audience interests vary, whether it’s sports, business, technology, the environment or politics. It’s fundamental to have a messaging strategy that tailors your messaging to audience member preferences. This includes giving them the ability to follow topics and events they are interested in, as well as the ability to choose how often and when they get notifications.

Don’t Miss a Single Ingredient 

To offer your customers the best experience for breaking news alerts, consider these questions:

  1. Can I send notifications faster than my competitors?
  2. Can I use multiple channels to reach my audience?
  3. Can I give my audience preferences for their notifications? 

Make sure you’re using the best tools for messaging your app users. Request a demo or contact us and let us know how we can help you send notifications quickly and effectively. 

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