FOR THE YOUTH: Bustle, the Millennial-leaning Web site targeting female readers, is trying to conquer the art of the mobile app.
For most media companies, it has been a challenge to drive readers to consistently use their apps, Bustle chief executive officer Bryan Goldberg said.
“Even for the best media companies like BuzzFeed and The New York Times, mobile apps have been a struggle for them. In general, mobile apps don’t work great because they’re focused on just their content,” the ceo said. “The mobile app has to be a value proposition that is different than what you have on your mobile desktop.”
Bustle’s in-house developed app, which launches Monday, aims to overcome those hurdles by providing a mélange of stories selected from around the Web and content created by Goldberg’s site.
“We noticed our readers’ interests are very broad,” said editor in chief Kate Ward, explaining that she’s hired a team of “curators” to select buzzy stories across over 50 categories that will appear in the app. “We do have some partners that we do end up linking to but it’s mostly taste making,” she said, explaining that about 20 percent of the content is from Bustle.com, and the rest is from other outlets.
Topics include news on “Orange is the New Black,” sex and relationships, Caitlyn Jenner and the extended Kardashian clan, including Kanye West, as well as trending issues on social media and breaking news. The app is free and there is no advertising tied to it yet, although Bustle does feature sponsored content.
On Bustle.com, sponsored and native advertising is how the two-year-old company makes most of its revenue.
“Last year, we didn’t have any advertising. This year, we should do seven-figure revenue all four quarters of this year,” Goldberg said, offering that Bustle’s brand partners include Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, J. Crew, L’Oréal and Abercrombie & Fitch.
The ceo said in April the site drew 23 million unique visitors, reflecting strong traction that he attributes to the editorial voice of Bustle’s team, which is made up of mainly Millennial women.
“Everyone wants to know how you attract young Millennials to your site. You have them do the writing,” he said, underscoring the importance of the app as a growth-driver for the brand.
When asked to address how Bustle’s app differs from Twitter, which allows the user to read self-curated news, he paused.
“We’re better than Twitter. Our experience can be better than Twitter. It’s a fire hose, what appears in your Twitter feed,” the ceo said, offering that a barometer for success will be hitting a million downloads. “We are trying to solve a particular problem with this app. Bustle has a very broad coverage mandate. The question becomes, how can we cover such a broad array of topics while speaking directly to the reader? That’s what this app aims to do.”