Rise of the Super Aggregator and the User-Centric Experience

When it comes to Super Aggregators, Apple News is of course making all the waves, but we should expect there to be others. This new breed of aggregator will reach vast audiences, offer a huge variety of content, and will offer ease of use and consumption. Publishers are going to have to embrace the fact that their content is going to be accessed via an aggregator. In order to survive and thrive, publishers must take a truly user-centric approach to content consumption. If they don’t embrace a user-centric model, they’re effectively shooting themselves in both feet – putting off the readers who will come to their site directly and providing a user experience that doesn’t make the most of aggregators – where a large proportion of their readers get their news.

Key Points

  • In 2018 only 8.4% of traffic to the average site came from aggregators, but that volume grew by 21% over 2017, making it the fastest changing category.
  • While most aggregators either present a very simple story layout, or collect links and direct you to another website, Super Aggregators are a different breed, offering vast reach, access to a huge variety of content, and a truly user-centric experience.
  • With the rise of Super Aggregators, the room for competition is going to be very limited. Unless they are highly specialized, any other platform is going to need to compete with the reach, breadth, and brand strength of Apple or Google.
  • Publishers need to accept that their content is going to be accessed via an aggregator, and that the Super Aggregator is going to have some control over content.
  • Publishers must apply a user-centric approach to their business and decrease friction in the reader experience because will need to more actively entice people to visit their site directly and then get them to stay there.
  • Taking a user-centric approach means respecting the reader’s time and needs, giving them the freedom to choose which content they consume, plus when and how they want to consume it.
  • But subscriptions don’t give readers real choice. True choice would be to offer content in ways that mirror the user’s consumption behavior.
  • If publishers limit themselves solely to existing subscription models, they’re putting off the non-subscribing readers who come to their site directly, while also providing a user experience that doesn’t make the most of aggregators.
  • By embracing user-centricity and providing options beyond subscriptions, publishers allow readers to consume content as seamlessly as they like, which sets them up not only to retain existing readers, but also to engage with audiences that come to the site via outside sources.

Check out my full article here.

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