Speed tweaks and a new look help Bleacher Report keep users glued to its app.
To speed up load times, over the past year Bleacher Report started natively uploading tweets, GIFs and Instagram posts within its app, rather than pulling them from the mobile web. For now, Bleacher Report’s articles still load from the mobile web, but the publisher is looking into adopting Google AMP for its in-app articles to get another speed boost. In April, the sports publisher also launched its own mobile video player and redesigned its app to include tabs and focus more on national sports coverage.
Bleacher Report users, on average, spent 151 minutes in its app per month this past year, according to comScore data. This was the highest among major sports publishers, as the top five sports apps in terms of time spent (excluding Bleacher Report) averaged 82 minutes per user per month.
“The redesign was the last piece of a lot of ‘under the hood’ work that we’ve done,” said Chris Nguyen, Bleacher Report’s vp of product. “We’ve invested our energy to make sure we can control the [mobile] experience.”
Bleacher Report is investing in mobile video product at a time when both mobile and video are rapidly growing. With mobile eating digital media, speed has become increasingly important in keeping users’ attention, which has led many publishers to adopt fast-loading features like Facebook Instant Articles and Google AMP. To boost speed and reduce vendor costs, Bleacher Report replaced video vendors Ooyala and Akamai with its own mobile video player.
Since the redesign, Bleacher Report’s in-app videos load within 1.2 seconds, on average, on both Android and iOS, according to video analytics firm Conviva. Per Conviva, the median video load time for publishers is 5.6 seconds on Android and 4.2 seconds on iOS. Bleacher Report declined to provide year-over-year statistics since it switched analytics vendors with the redesign.
The video player has been frequently used since the redesign. One-third of the app’s users use one of the app’s new tabs, Fire, which features silent autoplay videos on a loop, similar to the now-defunct Vine.
Users who visit Fire stay in the app for 24 percent longer than non-Fire users, said Nguyen, who declined to share raw numbers. In its first month, users watched 150 million video loops on Fire, which lets people quickly scroll through the top sports highlights throughout the nation. Most of the app’s other features focus predominantly on the user’s selected favorite teams.
“We view every tab like it is its own app within the app,” Nguyen said. “We wanted to create an addictive habit around something that isn’t your team.”
About 3 million people use Bleacher Report’s app each month, according to comScore, which means that it still has a long way to go before it catches up with ESPN’s app audience of more than 13 million monthly visitors.
“We might not have as large of breadth,” Nguyen said. “But our engagement is really strong.”
How Dotdash Meredith worked through the challenge of integrating two major publishers’ tech stacks
At the Digiday Publishing Summit, Dotdash Meredith product chief Adam McLean shared why he had initially expected the integration to be done by summer 2022 and why the work is still ongoing.
Digiday+ Research: Publishers come out on the side of hybrid work as the pandemic dust settles
Being in the office full time might be a thing of the past for publishers, who voiced a clear preference for a hybrid-style workforce.
How one publisher is using generative AI to publish thousands of evergreen posts, create a chatbot
Ingenio has used generative AI technology to publish over 11,000 articles and will soon launch a spiritual guide chatbot.
SponsoredHow advertisers are fostering more effective publisher partnerships
This article is part of Digiday’s coverage of its Digiday Publishing Summit. More from the series → Michael Weaver, senior vice president, business development and growth, Al Jazeera Media Network An everyday conversation between publishers and advertisers goes like this: The publisher invites the advertiser to a meal to talk about their business, attempts to […]
Wirecutter tests new content on different platforms to increase affiliate revenue
Wirecutter is hoping to deepen its relationships with readers to become a go-to source not only for making a purchase, but also for early stage product discovery.
Newsletter publishers cautiously plan to expand editorial and sales teams
Publishers with newsletter-focused businesses are looking to grow their editorial and sales teams this year — but cautiously, to keep spending down during a time of economic uncertainty.