What will digital magazine publishing apps look like in the future?
What comes to mind when thinking about the first generation of apps? Over the past four years, we’ve seen this technology change the way mobile devices are used. Digital magazine publishers and brands have developed apps and placed them in digital app stores for the chance to reach new audiences.
First-generation apps were basically what you could expect from new technology. Some had operating issues, including loading too slowly, freezing, and not being compatible with specific devices. Although some app developers have found success, especially when it comes to developing games, there are higher expectations for the next generation of apps.
What’s next for digital magazine publishers? First, it seems that providing their content through apps is still a relevant move. ABI Research’s data predicts there will be four main app categories that will account for 80% of app sales in 2016. These categories include digital publishing, games, social networking, and e-commerce. For digital publishers, al of these popular app types can be utilized. Digital publishing apps are obvious; social networking apps can be used for audience development and retention; e-commerce apps can be used to sell aligned products and third-party sponsored products. Games are a possibility for some digital publishers, depending on their audience and subject matter. Others could utilize interactive apps similar to games. For instance, Men’s Health Workouts apps provide valuable information and it goes beyond basic text.
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In addition to new potential designs, the next generation of digital apps will target new demographics. Seniors, age 60 and over, and children between the ages of one and nine are expected to be using tablets more by 2016.
The future of digital apps came into mind after reading a recent article from Thomas Husson at Forrester. His article, which discusses a new report on the subject of second-generation apps, outlines a few things he believes will be found in the next generation of apps. These include:
-Smarter, more connected apps. These will likely be integrated with back-end systems.
-More hybrid and web apps. Many first-generation were native apps, which means they are downloaded and run through the device’s operating system and machine firmware. This makes compatibility difficult for users and publishers as different devices and operating systems have different requirements. Web apps utilize the Internet each time they are used, to some degree at least. As HTML5 becomes used more readily used, web apps and hybrids may become more popular since compatibility issues won’t be prevalent.
-Multiplatform apps will be the superior apps. Since digital publishing success often relies on being multiplatform, this should not come as a surprise to publishers. Bringing content to all the areas your audience occupies allows them to choose how they will consume your content. Not providing the option limits your audience building opportunities.
-Husson also sites “big data” as an enabler for “more contextual experiences on mobile apps”.
Where will the next generation of digital magazine publishing apps lead? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.