Push notifications for a news application

What should be the policy for push notifications for a news app? With early each app sending push notifications most users have the ubiqutous “red star” on most apps on their devices. Does sending a notification for every new story make sense? Does sending a summary notification make sense? Should we think of customized, personalized notifications.

Here’s a quote from a friend I think of highly as a good thinker of new tech.

“I have stopped following any press these days. No news channels nor economic times or any such information now. For me most news has become non-actionable. The media content has become exponential both from generated content or syndicated content standpoint. After sifting through pages of content you are still trying to find the actionable items in those. I have started following social media and have started calling some of my connections JENA (Just Enough News Agent). The job of this person is to tweet around what he has read and if you have a few good connections they provide you a pretty descent exposure to the filtered new events.”

How do we make the notification actionable. What sort of news content is actionable?

In past articles, we have talked about building inNews as an aggregator that determines the BIG news at this time based on the volume and velocity of news articles on that story line and presents the top news with all related articles. It seems logical then to offer a customized, personalized option to the user to choose to receive notifications which will bring to focus the BIG news at that time so the user can check it out. But what will make it actionable? Can we link the notifications to the temporal value of news consumption?

As a user, I may be interested in the top news in the morning to know and also to re-affirm my knowledge of the top news stories from the previous day; by mid-day as I want to catch up on any major breaking stories during the day (especially financial or political) and end of the working day so I have a mental framework for catching up on the news in the evening as needed.

So if we link curiosity about the “news of the day” with the temporal and offer an option to the user to choose which notifications she is interested in, can we bring new value to the user? The answer of course lies in offering the solution to the user and testing the hypothesis.

Coming up in the next inNews release: personalized push notifications bringing you the top news of the morning, mid-day and evening. So that you stay abreast of news. And we get to see you daily. Stay tuned.

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