How Reuters made a free personalised ‘news wire’ with app based on 5,000 niche topics

Reuters has switched its consumer strategy away from general news audiences to target professionals with a highly personalised news app designed to inform rapid business decision-making.

The new service, which went live this week, aims to replicate the scrolling experience of timelines on Facebook and Twitter, while allowing users to customise their diet of Reuters content from 5,000 hyper-niche news “feeds” on specialist topics, industry sectors, companies and individuals.

“We are allowing people to curate their own news wire,” says Isaac Showman, managing director of Reuters Consumer, in an interview with The Drum. “That’s an incredibly powerful proposition.”

By focusing on user utility and personalisation, Reuters hopes to make its news app an indispensable tool for professionals, providing a free-to-access service in a news market where specialist and trusted business information is often found behind a paywall. “It’s quite a deliberate decision – an expression that we have a commitment around serving the business professional audience,” says Showman. “We have had to rebuild everything to make this work.”

Business and show business side by side

The focus on a professional audience doesn’t mean that showbusiness news is off the Reuters agenda. “We are aiming at business professionals but it’s not just business content,” Showman says. “People will subscribe to a feed on bonds and another one on Beyoncé. People have varied interests and Reuters is famous for covering the entertainment and commodities markets with the same level of rigour and quality.”

While other news apps offer users a customised service (such as the ‘My News’ feature on the BBC News app), Reuters will hope that its depth of information and its exceptional coverage of the markets will give it an edge with professionals.

The Reuters news app, which is initially available on Apple’s iOS but will be extended to Android devices, is advertiser supported and users have the option of allowing their ads to be customised to their interests.

“The one thing we do know is that the users – with some exceptions – don’t pay for content; they pay for the benefits they get from that content.”

Source: thedrum.com; 2 Aug 2018

WhatsApp to start making money from businesses

There has been much speculation about how Facebook might monetise the messaging service since its acquisition in 2014 – with the move coming as Facebook’s own revenue begins to slow.

Facebook-owned WhatsApp is finally going to start making some money with new pay-to-use tools that will let businesses talk to customers.

Via the messaging app, companies will be able to send information about products and services, such as boarding passes and delivery dates, as well as providing real-time support to help resolve issues.

WhatsApp – which Facebook bought for £11bn in 2014 – says users will continue to have full control over the messages they receive, and that businesses will pay to send certain messages so they are selective and chats “don’t get cluttered”.

Messages will cost between 0.3p and 7p depending on the country the user is in, with businesses allowed up to 24 hours to respond for free before a charge is imposed.

WhatsApp says messages will remain end-to-end encrypted and that users will be able to block businesses whenever they wish.

The move comes following Facebook’s bombshell second quarter results, which wiped £92bn from its stock market value in one go.

Shares plunged by more than 20% after the social media giant announced its slowest growth in users for over two years, with Facebook expecting its revenue growth to lose speed as users make the most of new options designed to limit advertising, while less profitable overseas markets drive growth.

Facebook claims 2.5 billion people use its apps every month, including Instagram and WhatsApp.

Instagram Stories, which already show ads, is used by around 400 million people, while 450 million use WhatsApp Status.

Around 100 companies have been testing the Status ads feature so far, including Uber and Singapore Airlines, with a full roll-out due next year.

Source: marketingweek.com; 2 Aug 2018

Google launches Waze Local in Malaysia

Google is monetising the data collected by its GPS software, opening up ad formats to small- and medium-sized businesses after a successful rollout with large-scale advertisers.

Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in Malaysia can now access the ad formats of Waze in order to generate footfall through location-based marketing.

According to Google, the parent company of Waze, the GPS platform has over 100 million monthly active users worldwide, of which 5.9% are based in Malaysia. While large advertisers have had access to ad formats, now the platform is open to SMBs as well under the Waze Local banner, offering:

– Promoted Search: Giving SMBs priority rankings in search results initiated by drivers.
– Branded Pin: Flares up a sign that grabs the drivers’ attention
– Zero Speed Takeover: Shows ads while a vehicle has come to a halt for more than three seconds.

Functionally, Waze Local will allow SMBs to target ads at drivers and passengers in the vicinity of a business, offering limited time incentives and deals to prompt a visitor footfall. According to the announcement, the ads appear on the map within a contextual setting, allowing SMBs to target based on geography and peak hours. SMBs will also have access to quantifiable metrics pertaining to the effectiveness of an ad in driving footfall.

While Waze appears as a preinstalled GPS navigator for OEMs in the form of vehicles and Android consumer electronics, in the APAC region it competes on a B2C level with Facebook through Local and Niantic through Pokemon Go, while on a B2B level it competes with HERE Technologies, with uses cases around advertising science, fleet utilization, and urban movement.

Source: campaignasia.com; 3 Aug 2018

WeChat leads China’s mobile messaging market

Mobile messaging service WeChat is by far the No. 1 chat app for users in China, according to eMarketer’s latest forecast of worldwide mobile messaging users.

This year, more than 494 million people in China are expected to use the app at least once per month, with 84.5% of all mobile phone messaging app users in the country on the platform.

WeChat’s dominance in a market that effectively skipped email and went straight to instant messaging creates huge opportunity for marketers. eMarketer estimates that more than 585 million individuals in China will use a mobile messaging app this year—equivalent to 75.8% of all internet users.

WeChat, known as Weixin in China, was created by Chinese tech giant Tencent in 2011 and expanded overseas the following year. The app has since grown in scope and has transformed the way users in China live their day-to-day lives. Aside from sending messages, users can order food, transfer money and book airline tickets on the app. In addition, WeChat also functions as a social media platform, where users can post pictures, videos and articles.

Unsurprisingly, smartphone users are often WeChat users. eMarketer expects 79.1% of smartphone users in China to use WeChat this year.

“WeChat is by far the most advanced mobile messaging app worldwide in terms of its functionality and the services it offers users and businesses,” said Cathy Boyle, eMarketer’s principal analyst of mobile. “Where the app falls short is in its global reach. However, for businesses interested in marketing products and services in China—and increasingly to Chinese people living or traveling abroad—WeChat is the best messaging app to use.”

Source: marketing-interactive.com; 12 July 2017