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Just say no to native news apps

One of the best ways to waste your company’s money is to make a dedicated mobile app. They are expensive to make and support, and rarely add value. You are -- most likely -- better served focusing on optimizing the mobile web.

A former mobile news app product manager runs through her arguments for abandoning news apps as a strategy for nearly all publishers. For starters, news apps are expensive to build and expensive to maintain. For the engineering cost involved in native app care-taking, “why not instead focus on the mobile web?” she asks. She adds that most of your site’s users won’t download the native app, and among those who do, only a quarter will open it regularly. Furthermore, native news apps tend not to add more users over time. That means the cost of maintaining your news app is being spent on a very small and stagnant segment of your user base. Ultimately, she says, “Apps aren’t magical universes. They are part of a platform that is not viral, resource-hungry and hard to grow. So why not bet on the mobile web instead?”