October 25, 2011

The Tablet Revolution

The Influence of Brand

Most app users still rely on less than five different news sources or apps on the tablets. So how do these power users chose which apps to download and perhaps pay for? What is the driving factor?

The two most important factors are whether the app is offered by a trusted brand and low cost-much more so than recommendations from friends or positive reviews. This bodes well for news organization with strong well-established brands, but it does not mean that brand equity will necessarily translate into revenue. The vast majority of tablet news users, 84%, say the fact that the app came from a news organization they liked is a major factor in their decision to download it. Just as many say that the app being free, or low cost, is a major factor.

Age also makes a difference. For those adults 18-29 years old, three-quarters, 76%, say brand is a major factor while 94% say they are driven by whether an app was free or low cost. Good reviews are also more important among this age cohort, with 55% naming it as a major factor compared with 40% of the tablet news users overall.

News Organizations Have Strong Direct Traffic both Through Apps and Browsers

Regardless of whether these tablet news users went through an app or through their browser, most accessed news over the last seven days by going directly to a news provider of choice – rather than through search engines, social networks or aggregators.

When getting headlines, 81% of browser users (those who mainly used a browser or used both apps and browsers equally) went directly to a news organization as did 90% of app users (again, those who mainly used apps or used both equally).  The new tablet news aggregator apps like Pulse and Flipboard have attracted only a small following. Among those who use apps, direct news websites were more than twice as likely to be used as the new tablet news aggregators (90% versus 36%). Men, incidentally, were more likely than women to use a tablet aggregator like Flipboard (45% of men and 26% of women).

For long-form reading, 46% of browser users went directly to news websites all or most of the time and another 36% went directly sometimes.