How iOS9 Can Help Publishers Boost Digital Subscriptions

ios9There’s been a lot of talk about some key changes coming in iOS9 this fall. The demise of the Apple Newsstand, for one, is probably a really good thing for publishers and should help improve reader retention. And the much-discussed Apple News (akin to Facebook’s Instant Articles) has received a ton of press, both good and bad.

Like them or not, the changes that will hit the market in October mean publishers need to prepare and be ready to leverage them to their advantage, according to Keith Ahern in Publishing Executive.

“The June 2015 Apple keynote turned out to be the most important update for news and magazine publishers since 2011. iOS9, available in October, will offer publishers an opportunity to take advantage of some new features and are significant for digital publishers,” Ahern writes.

“Arguably they will benefit advertising oriented apps better than pay-wall apps, but they might even drive publishers to take down pay-walls and put up ads,” he continues.

One change that has flown under the radar is the advent of searchable app content, both on your device and on the web.

“This is profound – Magazine content that has been locked up inside Apps (including back issues) will be searchable,” says Ahern.

“Think SEO for your magazine content. But even better, when a user searches it will return results from inside your app even if the user doesn’t have the app or the content downloaded. Publishers with quality content who leverage this should see a boost in app and content downloads.”

Deep linking is another one of the less-discussed changes, and goes hand-in-hand with the searchable content, says Ahern.

“iOS9 will open web links in your branded app (if the app is installed) or show the web page (if the app is not installed). Publishers can take advantage of this by pushing readers to specific content in the app rather than the app overall. It will allow for more targeted content marketing,” he notes, adding that these features are likely to improve discoverability and lead to greater downloads and subscriptions.

And for you print magazine readers, well, they’ll operate the same as always…pick it up, turn the page, sit back and relax. No upgrade needed.