We looked at areas within the E! News app for opportunities of increased user engagement. We felt like we super-served our audience for breaking news and daily entertainment reporting but wanted to broaden the exposure for other topics and categories to facilitate deeper usage, brand affinity, and to reinforce that the E! News app is the go-to source for celebrity and entertainment news.
Traditionally, our users treat the home page of the app as their main discovery tool for articles, photo galleries and videos - so the objective was for us to create a centralized hub to make it easy for our audience to discover additional content that they might not otherwise be exposed to on a given news day - and therefore, circulate more engagement within the app. This became known as ‘The Explore Page’.
Secondly, we looked to create a mechanism where our editorial staff can curate topics for special events that we cover throughout the year (like the Golden Globes, Grammys and the Oscars) as well as highlight trending content to give the app a continually relevant feel. Finally, we wanted to create a space within the app where we could launch new features (like Search) that wouldn’t disrupt or impact the traditional user flow.
Based on user feedback, behavior and competitive analyses, we knew that we wanted one singular page to become a gateway for all the additional content, but at the same time - it needed to look curated and user-friendly. We experimented with different layouts and, as most of our content is celebrity or entertainment-driven, and settled for larger, circular images for instant topical recognition. In contrast, the omnipresent buttons that link to our video and photo pages were treated like icons to distinguish them from any of the timelier topics that would update more frequently.
In addition, we created a new ‘Trending’ page, powered by the Chartbeat API which aggregates all popular content and renders it into one contained view. Real estate at the top of the page was set aside for the new Search functionality with careful spacing for additional icons as more features become available.
We wanted the experience to feel like an evolution, and not a redefinition of the app - so careful consideration was made to remain consistent with colors and iconography. We also performed several rounds of user testing to make sure that the updates were intuitive and rewarding. As users adopted this version of the app, we ran re-acquisition campaigns that highlighted these new features as well as promoting in the iOS App Store copy, screen shots and Apple Search ads.
Both the Explore, Search feature and Trending Page has experienced steady growth since launch. As designed, increased engagement coincided with large news stories throughout the year like the Death of Kobe Bryant and the BLM movement of the summer, as well for mainstays like the Kardashians and The Bachelor. Topic hubs for the 2020 Emmys and People’s Choice Awards also saw higher lifts post-event than in previous versions of the app. Search has also seen, steady, increased engagement as well.