The newest quandary for publishers? Whether to go native or not on the tablet.
B2B publisher GIE Media found that their audience engaged more with a native tablet app of its magazine “A Garden Life” than the flipboard app.
“We see engagement of roughly 47 minutes per entrance into the [native] app, which is huge,” Chris Foster, President and COO of GIE Media told Talking New Media.
For the uninitiated, a native app is a downloadable piece of software written for a specific platform, like the iPad. Different platforms use different coding languages — Android uses Java, Apple/iOS uses Objective-C, and Microsoft Mobile uses Visual C++.
There are other pros and cons to the native vs. web app debate. For one, the native app requires a download and memory on a user’s device, but the content can then be viewed without Internet access. A Web-based app requires Internet access to view content. But on the flip side, it updates automatically, whereas a native app must be manually updated by the user.
There’s also significant difference in monetization and customer relations. Native apps can only be sold through a platform, like Apple’s Newsstand. Developers have the ability to charge a download price (though most don’t), but the app store will handle the purchase, usually taking a percentage of sales and not giving publishers marketing data, like customer email addresses or credit cards.
Web-based apps allows publishers to integrate sales and marketing info into their existing CRM database, which makes retention easier. They also allow publishers to retain 100% of sales revenues.
But if audiences are more engaged (and therefore more likely to renew a subscription) through native apps, are the pros of Web-based apps worth the lower subscriber numbers? The Financial Times seems to think so, but B2B publishers with less technological resources might disagree.
Image: (c) meedanphotos via flickr.