Amid Fashion Week in New York, readers have a voracious appetite for knowing what people are wearing, what they'll wear in the spring and what they shouldn't sport. Given that and the 300 percent bump in online traffic the week creates, PopSugar has released the PopSugar Fashion Week app to curate all its content on events in New York, London, Paris and Milan in one place.
"We want to make sure we're super serving our audience across the interests they're most passionate about," said Chris George, vp of product marketing at PopSugar. "We want to give them an experience that goes much deeper than how they usually access our content."
That said, for most other weeks of the year, the "seasonal" app won't be updated. As such, it becomes yet another one-time use app—like those PopSugar has for awards season and Halloween—that clogs up the memory space on smartphones until next year's event rolls around.
While it appears to be a waste of resources to create something that will remain dormant for most of the year, Altimeter's Rebecca Lieb said the brand awareness push these apps create is worth the effort. It allows the publication to recycle content and get it in front of new eyeballs. "It's a really good promotional strategy," Lieb said.
Such apps also give PopSugar insight into its audience, such as that the majority of its female readers prefer single-purpose and specialty apps, according to George. The publisher had 21.9 million multi-platform monthly unique visitors in July 2014, and 57 percent of its audience accesses its content on a mobile device—up 85 percent from last year. PopSugar claims that its other seasonal app tied to awards season has been downloaded tens of thousands of times.
Perhaps the most valuable feature these seasonal apps provide is a very targeted audience for brands. In addition, these platforms give PopSugar another avenue to reach consumers beyond its desktop experience and daily emails, while driving up their subscription rate, said Erika Kauffman, an evp at 5W Public Relations. "They are clearly developing their apps based on when there’s a spike in traffic," Kauffman added. "It's an additional sell to their advertisers."
Furthermore, the price of developing an app has dropped to as low as $40,000 a pop, according to Kauffman, who heads 5W's fashion and beauty unit. Finally, PopSugar's development team can create a custom app in just a few days.