Mobile Apps for Radio: 3 Things to Consider

Posted by Paul Miedzik

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Jun 14, 2016 1:13:35 PM


If your Radio station is remotely interested in vying for the attention of your listeners on their smartphone, you’ll have to consider building a Mobile App so they have access to your Radio station's stream on their screen. This will make your brand accessible in today’s mobile landscape and prepared for the connected car and other technologies in the coming years. Today, listeners expect stations to have a mobile presence. 80% of time spent in smartphones is spent in App.

The constant connection to your station via an App means that listeners can take you anywhere. As it stands, 46% of terrestrial Radio Apps are used outside of terrestrial broadcast range. That means audiences are even willing to consume their valuable phone data to stay connected to your station.


Ultimately, Mobile Apps for Radio are effective ways to further extend your Radio brand into the digital space. They build brand recognition, encourage listener loyalty, boost engagement, and most importantly, provide you with additional revenue possibilities and your advertising partners access your mobile audience.

Okay, so you’re interested. But where do you start?


Consider these 3 things when choosing a Mobile App for Radio.


1. Type of App


There are several options for Radio brands to choose from when selecting a Mobile App for their Radio station. Firstly, brands need to decide if they are looking for a Single Tenant or Multi Tenant App.


Single Tenant vs. Multi Tenant


Single Tenant Apps are Apps with only one Radio station stream and brand. These are common Apps for mid to large market stations. Multi Tenant Apps offer listeners access to multiple streams on one App. These are more common for smaller markets where the App is considered more of a community hub for the audience.  


It is recommended that if a Radio group uses a Multi Tenant App, that their website is also Multi Tenant format to maintain brand consistency and access to all stations.

After deciding whether a Single or Multi Tenant App is right for your station, brands need to determine the functionality of their App. Typically Radio brands pick one of two types of Apps which include a basic streaming App or an engagement App.


Streaming App vs. Enagagement App


Basic Streaming Apps are simple, passive Apps that offer a listerner access to a Radio brand's stream only. These Apps contain zero to minimal content, limited features and little in the way of interactive functionality. This type of App is unlikely to have any revenue tools or audience engagement features and are primarily to designed to deliver your stream in the most basic manner.  

Unlike Streaming Apps, Engagement Apps have a multitude of features designed to keep listeners interacting with the App and your on-air talent while they stream your station. The strongest Engagement Apps for Radio stations are ones that allow for  1-1 conversation between your listeners and your brand. Engagement Apps are designed to be highly interactive, social by design, and to open up a miriad of digital revenue opportunities with porfitable ad inventories.

A good Engagement App not only provides your audience with access to your stream, it should also host in-app contesting, song voting, gaming, rich content, bold imagery, SMS integration, push notifications, weather and traffic, social media, and music discovery features.


2. Integration

If you're thinking about investing in a Mobile App, then you're investing in the digital landscape and you likely have other digital assets like a website and social media pages. How effectiely and easily your App integrates with these digital properties is integral in deciding the Mobile App supplier you choose.


Website & Social

Creating, curating and updating content is a big job, and you probably have a dedicated employee or team working on it in-house. Having a Mobile App that ties with your website CMS ensures your team doesnt have to duplicate work in mulitple platforms to get content published. It keeps your App organized and manageable from any device, and makes creating and publishing contests and content really simple. Having an App integrated with your website means you can syndicate news and content to both properties at the same time.


Because an App is an important strategic piece of growing your membership database, ensuring that your App and website membership database are synched and tied to one central database means you won't have to manage two separate databases and create efficiencies in communicating to this base or querying it for segmentation.


On the social front, you should be looking at integration as more than just a "share" button. Does the App natively pull-in social content? Is there an interactive social stream that allows your audience to engage with it? Being integrated with social means your App was built for engagement and connectivity at every level and your listeners have multiple touchpoints to share or interact with your brand's social content.


3. Control


Are you able to update your App quickly or are you reliant on your App provider? Is this YOUR App, or somebody else's?


Something to consider when investing in a Mobile App for Radio is whether you'll be able to manage it yourself. Like with other digital properties, third party providers can be a burden. You'll have to have constant communication over every change or update to your App. In a business where content has to go live instantly, ease-of-use and control is a necessity for Radio brands.

The value of investing in a Mobile App that can be managed with your CMS, is that you'll have all the power to update new content on your own terms and timelines. If you want to change your logo or apply a new contest - you can do so yourself. Radio groups that are always trying to save, should avoid things they don't have control over as they are costly and limit the types of content that can be produced for audiences.


Overall, going with a Mobile App that is in-line with your digital strategy is important.  A Mobile Radio App that offers your audience an interactive experience, a dependable content source and of course, access to your stream is essential. Having an App that genrates insights for and extends your offering to your advertising partners is also highly recommended. This way, your App can be much more than just a cost centre, it will be a valuable revenue generator.


Have Questions? Talk with a SoCast specialist on how a Mobile App can grow your Radio station. Or have a look at some of our awesome resources.

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For more articles on mobile apps for Radio, building a digital strategy for Radio and Radio trends 2016, subscribe to the SoCast blog!

Topics: mobile apps for radio

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