According to a new report by Digiday, executives from leading publishers including Joe Ripp, the CEO of Time Inc., do not seem happy with Apple’s recently released News app, due to the underwhelming traffic they are getting from the app as well as from less than impressive user experience and limited user data shared with them by Apple. “The traffic is underwhelming”, said one publisher who requested to remain anonymous.
For that publisher, that means under 1 million views a month — not terrible, but not worth it considering the work involved to train staff in Apple’s process and to prepare the content for the app, much less take advantage of other features that Apple offered to entice publishers to use the app. “They’re not generating a ton of views or traffic, and the data they provide is basically nonexistent,” another publisher said. “They claim they’re working out kinks, and they probably will. I’m disappointed, but I’m not giving up on it.”
The other main reason provided by publishers is user data. Apple is currently providing weekly data reports including basics like the volume of page views and shares. However, publishers want a dashboard that they can use to analyze data on demand, and more demographic data on users. To appeal to publishers, Apple was supposed to let them count the views toward their traffic and let them sell ads into the app. But publishers say that Apple has been too slow in adding measurement firm comScore tags to the content.
It may not be an issue for publishers that aren’t getting much traffic from Apple News now, but if the app becomes a significant source of traffic, not having comScore’s independent tracking makes advertising a hard sell.
Fortunately for Apple, not all publishers are unhappy as The Washington Post’s executive director of emerging news Cory Haik said, “We are pleased with how our content feels in Apple News and excited that it’s reaching new audiences. This is a fantastic discovery tool for new users to the Post and we’re very encouraged in how they are finding us.”