Gannett’s Chief Digital Officer, David Payne, spoke to a group of the company’s journalists attending ONA 2013 in Atlanta last month. He presented the following points on thinking about mobile. (I’ve added some embellishments here and there.)
1. It’s a completely different habit. It’s so different from desktop user behavior. It’s with us all day, and does so many different things for us.
2. New is the new news. If you’re checking something 100 times a day, “new” is what’s important.
3. Mobile doesn’t necessarily mean mobile. A growing share of smartphone and tablet use occurs right in the home. It’s just the easiest screen to access closest to us.
4. Mobile applications have to be interesting, they have to have personality — but not our personality. Everyone’s device is individual to them, and we must fit in that way.
5. Because there’s so much noise, you’re competing with people’s emotional connections. When someone has 30 seconds, what are they doing on their phone? As journalists, we think about informing people and being a watchdog, but people are looking for something different.
6. Understand the competition: It’s Google, it’s Facebook, it’s Snapchat, it’s Candy Crush …
7. Recognize the old ways are not going to work. This includes advertising with banners on traditional articles. Facebook gets 45% of all mobile ad dollars. We’ll have to come up with something very different to take some of that back.