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AccuWeather tackles Android fragmentation with app update

AccuWeather is making it easier for Android users to check the weather with an application upgrade that bundles customized content and push notifications into one place.

AccuWeather claims that the new Android app is able to forecast the weather in 2.7 million locations. AccuWeather also has apps for iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry and Windows devices.

"We are constantly working on updating our app to add new features and to optimize it to support new devices that get released to the marketplace. We also incorporate user feedback into our product updates," said Pascal Racheneur, vice President of Interactive Media at AccuWeather, State College, PA.

"Android users know their devices well ? a small percentage of them closely monitor the permissions requested by the apps and battery performance of the apps," he said.

"Our Android users love notifications, home screen widgets and push notifications. As a weather application, we have a unique opportunity to make use of these features to provide valuable information to our users." 

Top of mind
AccuWeather has updated its Android app to feature a more customized home screen. It now includes information on severe weather notices, current and two-day forecasts and an updated time clock. Fifteen-day forecasts are updated every hour.

Users can also view weather radar on a Google Map.

Additionally, the app uses push notifications to send out severe weather notices to locations inside the United States. For international users, severe weather notices can be accessed through the app.

A stronger emphasis on lifestyle content is included with features that show users how current weather conditions affect their health and outdoor activities.

Users can also share content via the app via social networks.

A free, ad-supported version of the app is available for download from Google Play. The AccuWeather Platinum version of the app is $2.99.

The app runs on most Android devices, including the new Android Nexus 7 tablet.

Mobile weather
Given weather?s real-time nature, the category is consistently ranked as a top activity for consumers on their mobile devices.

Not only does mobile open up new opportunities to publishers in how they deliver weather content, it also lets marketers target their initiatives with location and context, which users are more likely to respond to.

AccuWeather has been building up its mobile repertoire as the company increasingly sees more traffic coming from smartphones and tablets.

On July 18, AccuWeather hit a new record of traffic with 47 million page views between its ad-supported Web site and mobile properties. Traffic to the company?s mobile site racked up 17 million daily page views and applications generated 14 million page views (see story).

Additionally, the company revamped its iPad app earlier this year to focus more on detailed weather forecasts and lifestyle content. The app?s launch sponsor was Courtyard at Marriott and let consumers book hotel rooms through banner ads (see story).

"Mobile is a strategic platform for AccuWeather," Mr. Racheneur said.

"Through sound product management and our strategic distribution relationships, we have seen phenomenal growth on the platform," he said.

"But the mobile medium has also allowed us to grow our international footprint. A substantial percentage of our traffic comes from international markets. On a daily basis, we receive more than 2.5 billion data requests and our infratructure has been architected and optimized to support large amounts of requests from all parts of the globe."

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York