Many associations have used them over the years. You know the type – those flipbooks with the nifty “swoosh” page turning sounds, with the exact same content as your print magazine, with per-page fees? Yes, those are on their way out. If they’re not dead already, they’re fast on their way to retirement!
Magazine apps have waned, in large part, because the computer that once fit well on top of our desks now fits quite nicely in our pockets. This media consumption device change is reflected in national research trends, which, according to Forrester Research, desktop usage dropped 46%, while mobile usage increased 70% from 2015 to 2018.
In addition to an incompatible format that makes you pinch-to-zoom in order to actually see the pages, the old magazine apps perished because of their serious limitations. Most entry- and mid-level app technology forces an exact replica of your magazine. And even those that offer an HTML “page view” are one-size-fits-all in reality. You want versioning? Not possible. Updating? Good luck with that.
Publishers can no longer expect results from these old magazine apps. For associations, apps hold tremendous power to put content in front of members in new ways.
How should I be using apps?
While magazine apps are yesterday’s answer, customized association apps are alive and thriving. Used in conjunction with your print and online content, these leading-edge apps combine ease-of-use with personalization, continuous publishing, and the inherent interactivity of smartphones to enhance efforts in member engagement, retention, and renewal.
Using mobile is an entirely different experience from print, but these very different mediums have great potential to be used together! Mobile apps appeal to an audience with a desire for both print and mobile access. However, the wants for these two mediums are different. The print experience allows readers to sink into it. Mobile app users have a shorter attention span, so your content should be adjusted to reflect that. It’s an excellent opportunity to use short bites that drive users back to print. Rather than releasing content once a month, customized association mobile apps allow you to release content in a timely, continuous manner that keeps your organization top of mind. It also provides a means for sharing content unique to the app, like a podcast or video.
Take the American Association of Pediatric Dentistry as an example of how print and mobile can work together to serve association members. AAPD members use their app to quickly look up information in The Handbook of Pediatric Dentistry when they’re working, but said they prefer the 500-page printed version for study. This is one example of the way modern mobile apps are easier to search. You couldn’t do that on the old page-flipping magazine apps.
Another way this new breed of mobile apps surpasses its predecessors is through personalized content. The Walsworth Engage platform, built for associations, allows for integration with AMS, enabling high levels of personalization and gated content accessible only to association members. The Engage platform allows associations to create apps that provide members a place to get all kinds of information about the association, like news, calendars, member cards, member directories, and even conference and meeting content.
Do you need an app?
Don’t underestimate the value of having your branded content on an often-used device. Pew Research reports about 81% of Americans own a smartphone, and 37% of Americans primarily user their smartphone to access the internet. Put your content where they’re spending their time!
Why not just rely on a mobile-friendly website? Because mobile-friendly is not the same as designed for mobile! Apps provide easier navigation and a sleeker mobile viewing experience.
So the answer to “Do you need an app?” is “yes.” Let us put our expertise to work to design a customized mobile app that meets your organization’s needs.