How Publishers Are Using Read Later Apps To Increase Traffic | What’s New in Publishing


Digital media is an inherently fragmented space, with audiences accessing content across multiple channels every day. Against this backdrop, read-later apps like market leader Pocket have become increasingly useful to readers looking for a single point of access for content they find interesting.

Take away food

  • Read-later apps allow users to easily save discovered content across a range of platforms so they can return to it at a time that’s convenient for them. They also make it easy to discover content with recommendations and some even include audio playback to let users listen to articles.
  • Although new entrants are entering the field, Pocket dominates the competition. The Pocket application has 2 million monthly users, its Pocket Hits newsletter has 4 million subscribers and the brand is in front of 35 million users per month worldwide thanks to its affiliation with Mozilla and the Firefox browser.
  • Press Gazette compares Pocket users to Sunday newspaper readers, deeply committed to a regular set of curated content. This is in direct contrast to digital consumers in traditional social media apps, jumping from one piece of content to another like “fickle newsfeed scrollers”.

Pocket power

  • Writing in Ad Age, Mark Stenberg says the newsletter boom has reminded publishers of the importance of engaging regular readers. This is especially true in the context of engagement, a key driver for generating and retaining digital subscriptions.
  • Stenberg gives the example of Texas Monthly, whose readers spend 240% more time on its website and return at a rate 17% higher than the average user. This level of engagement makes traffic coming from the pocket “high-intent,” said Allison Fass, vice president of digital growth at Fast Company and Inc. She says:

Pocket Hits and the Firefox homepage both attract audiences to us and we really like that audience. If you’re looking for an engagement metric for content, Pocket has a spectacular one.

Help with content discovery

  • Pocket presents publisher content organically through Firefox New Tab recommendations, its Pocket Hits newsletter – which has a 20% open rate – and topic pages. The team also works directly with publishers to help improve content discovery through a syndication program designed to highlight permanent content.
  • Over the past two years, he’s established syndication partnerships with more than 70 publishers, ranging from household names like Bloomberg, Slate, and The Atlantic, to more niche players, including individual writers at Substack and a science editor at New York. Nautilus.
  • Reporting on a single science topic each month, Nautilus syndicates its content to Pocket and has seen monthly page views grow from 100,000 to over 700,000. The publisher now sees Pocket delivering over 20% of its monthly traffic.

Carolyn O’Hara, Senior Director, Content Discovery, Pocket calls the syndication program a win-win for publishers. Pocket pays a license fee for each article (estimated at $125-$200 per article), resurfaces content that might be lost, and presents it at scale to potential subscribers. O’Hara said:

We provide a link to the publisher’s home page in the signature, links to other recommendations from that publisher, and a call to action at the end that the publisher can set based on their editorial priorities. .

This article originally appeared in Spiny Trends and is republished with permission. Spiny Trends provides the industry news updates and analysis you need to stay in the know if you run a media and publishing business. Subscribe to a weekly email digest here.


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