APN news and media publishes more than 100 daily and non-daily newspapers, as well as over 50 websites, mobile sites and apps, across Australia and New Zealand. With a goal to revolutionise its regional digital proposition to deliver higher audience engagement and more readily commercialisable products, APN engaged Wilson Fletcher to undertake a full redesign of its trans-Tasman news platform. The subsequent relaunch of 43 local websites transformed them from generic news vehicles to vibrant community hubs brimming with local news, commentary and commerce.www.apn.com.au/au-publishing/
Undertaking a research-led service strategy phase (which saw us speak with consumers, advertisers and key stakeholders in 12 regional towns across Australia and New Zealand) we identified an opportunity to shift the nature of APN’s digital proposition. Where APN’s print publications were highly regarded and played an important role in local communities, their digital equivalents were perceived to be generic, utilitarian and commercially ineffective. Underpinning the platform redesign was a vision to transform APN from a news publisher and seller of advertising to a content-rich platform offering compelling information services that connect locals with local businesses.
Recognising the critical role newspapers play in local life, and further informed by some remarkable insights in our research, we knew APN’s audience was crying out for a digital one-stop-shop of local information for their communities. It was essential that each site felt like a reflection of the local community rather than the web’s many other other sources of daily news. We introduced new functionality for community engagement like a hub for local people to connect with each other, and dynamic content wrapped up in an experience that was carefully focused on reinforcing its local credentials. The result is an intuitive, accessible family of websites that combine the best in local news and community events, with important local services like placing notices, adding events, sharing photos, and commenting on almost anything in the site.
Directly responding to a massive growth in mobile use for local content, we undertook a mobile-led design process which produced simple, intuitive ways to engage with personalised dynamic content and functionality. This approach not only delivered a 200% increase in mobile traffic year on year but, via a multi channel strategy that drove more cross-device customer interactions, delivered a $2m EBIDTA improvement in 2012.