According to eMarketer, people spend 86% of the time they spend on their smartphones using mobile apps, and only 14% of their time using a mobile web browser. If your radio station wants to reach its listeners through their phones, it's not enough to have a mobile-responsive website; your station needs a mobile app as well.
What should your radio station look for when building a mobile app? Here are seven key features:
The number one feature radio listeners look for in a smartphone app is the ability to stream the radio station. According to our 2016 Techsurvey, 84% of radio listeners own a smartphone. If they've downloaded your app, they can listen to your station wherever they are — at work, in the car, at the gym, at home, etc.
2. Registration / Data Collection
Once upon a time, advertisers were primarily interested in reaching the most consumers. Today, they are focused on reaching the right consumers. After all, a golf store doesn't want to pay to reach a bunch of people who don't play golf.
To connect your advertisers with the right people, your radio station will need to collect data about its listeners — above and beyond the data provided by Nielsen. Your radio station's app can play a crucial role in that process. Make sure you are building an app that is capable of gathering data from listeners through registration forms, contest entries, social media integration, and more.
3. Sponsorship and Advertising Opportunities
Digital revenue continues to be the best growth opportunity for radio broadcasters. According to a recent study by Borrell Associates and the Radio Advertising Bureau, digital revenue for radio stations is expected to grow by 22% in 2017. Make sure that your station's app gives your sales team opportunities to generate revenue.
4. Push Notifications
A push notification is a message that pops up on a listeners mobile device, even when the app generating that notification isn't currently being used. Push notifications are an effective way to alert your listeners to time-sensitive issues. For example, you may want to let listeners know when an on-air contest is happening, when tickets to a big concert go on sale, or when there's an emergency in your community.
5. Social Sharing Buttons
As part of a Content Marketing strategy, social media is a very effective way to attract people to your radio station's website. You want to make is easy for listeners to share your radio station's online content, such as blogposts, on their social networks. When they do this, they bring their friends back to your website. If your mobile app is showcasing your station's online content, make sure it also makes it easy for people to share that content.
6. Alarm Clock
In our 2016 Techsurvey, we saw the smartphone overtake the clock radio as the primary device used to wake people up for the first time. So if you want listeners to continue to wake up to your radio station, you'll need an alarm clock feature in your app.
While podcast listening has seen steady growth over the years, it still hasn't achieved mass adoption. In our 2016 Techsurvey, only 28% of radio listeners reported listening to a podcast in the last month. The reason for that is simple: Listening to a podcast requires several steps: You have to download a “podcatcher” app, find a podcast, subscribe to the podcast, and then download the latest episode.
Radio stations are very well-positioned to take advantage of the podcasting medium, in part because they can make it easier for their fans to listen to podcasts by including them in their mobile app. This cuts the number of steps down, making a station's podcasts accessible to more people.
Mobile Strategy Webinar
Our sister company, jācapps, has built over one thousand radio station apps. Next month, join us as we co-host a free webinar with the jācapps team: “Mobile 101: What Every Radio Station Should Know About Mobile App Strategy.”
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