- The USA Today Network boosted the metrics of its mobile websites with a redesign that quickened download times and created a uniform appearance, according to an announcement shared with Mobile Marketer.
- The redesign improved image load speed by 400% for front pages, increased the average scroll depth by 86% and boosted average time spent by 28% on mobile web articles from a year earlier.
- The redesign was launched in October 2017. The USA Today Network is the news publisher's group of more than 100 publications throughout the country.
USA Today has invested heavily in improving the performance of its web properties for mobile platforms in an effort to keep audiences engaged with its publications. Newspapers continue to be hit hard by shifts in digital advertising, with both print ads slumping and online advertisers spreading their budgets to other platforms to attract more viewers. Improved mobile performance could boost the time USA Today's readers spend on its mobile websites, increasing their value to advertisers.
Over the past year since deploying the redesign, the network has ramped up efforts to make its app more useful for users, including adding a personalized news feed and tailored alerts to deliver relevant content to loyal readers. Its "My Topics" feature lets people create a customized headline feed and an option for automatic push notifications when the publication runs new stories about a user's selected topics. Last year, USA Today leveraged changes in iOS 11 to boost mobile engagement and draw in more on-the-go readers.
The announcement on improved metrics follows several other mobile initiatives taken on by the publisher. USA Today in September announced a podcast called "The City," with 10 episodes that use augmented reality (AR) to enhance storytelling around how a garbage company with mob ties built an illegal dump in a predominantly black neighborhood in the 1990s. Previously, the publisher added AR features to its mobile app to showcase U.S. space exploration and rocket launches from Florida's Kennedy Space Center. The increasingly popular mobile technology could help USA Today engage with younger, more tech-savvy consumers interested in media-rich content.