Congratulations to Dow Jones who are the winners of Best Use of Mobile 2017
Your ‘Elevator Pitch’
WSJ City is a pioneering little app that has, with a tiny team, taken on London and mobile. It has an entrepreneurial spirit and a WSJ-srength heart, but a shoestring budget. It’s experimenting with journalism, technology and new commercial models that allow it to punch far above its weight and secure the affection of the most senior executives at our parent company. Our reviews are extraordinary, we provide undeniably world-class quality day after day and we are not scared to learn and experiment along the way. We make the day better for our readers, advertisers and partners.
Set The Scene
Time was tight, competition fierce, budget small. With print advertising squeezing us from all sides, HQ wanted a world-class competition-breaker, an editorial exemplar that should be scalable, repeatable, re-skinnable and sellable. The tallest of orders. With maximum flexibility, managers allowed WSJ City to cherry-pick the best six staff, found the nimblest app developers, created an modular, mobile-first CMS, quickly skilled the staff for mobile and started storytelling. Concept to launch in six weeks. During the judging period we spent $0 on marketing and have still reaped thousands of readers with 95% daily engagement and 100% growth y-on-y in downloads.
Tell Us The Story
WSJ had a problem. It had over a century of storytelling, has a succession of Gerald Loeb and Pulitzer winners on staff, breaks the biggest scoops worldwide…but didn’t have a dedicated product in one of our most important markets, London. That was to change with WSJ City. Our prospective readers were slick, sophisticated, time-poor and tech-savvy. We needed to match that with a visually-rich, editorially-compelling and tech-forward platform that loaded in seconds made readers smarter in just one screen.
WSJ’s Innovation team, led by ex-Telegraph Edward Roussel and Himesh Patel, and our editor in London, Phillipa Leighton-Jones, created an aesthetically-rich, functionally simple app, and our editorial team of six, with over 60 years experience of reporting on London, broke the norms of storytelling.
It’s received blessing from the highest levels of the WSJ, with our editor in chief giving his permission for us to switch into British English in a remarkable move that breaks with 125-year old WSJ tradition.
We brainstormed and experimented with story techniques and editing to created a truly boiled-down version of our world-class reporting, and added journalists who could report solely for London, and solely for mobile.
For us, mobile isn’t simply a platform; it’s a new way to tell stories, packing maximum fact into minimum pixels while keeping the whole experience elegant, beautiful and slick. It’s a new way to engage with readers, with advertisers, with new demographics and media partners.
Downloads: Now numbering tens of thousands, have grown 100% year on year. Engagement: 95% of readers come back three times or more a day. Spin-offs: Our two newsletters have open rates of 35%. Ratings: We have 57 five-star ratings in iTunes. Now, we’re looking at new geographies and white-labelling the app.
Among our testimonials:
“Straight to the No. 1 financial news app. Great layout, short punchy articles and quick access to market data.” (From iTunes)
“This is the best and only app that’s worth anything. Simple yet incredibly 5-star effective. I don’t use anything else.” (From iTunes)
“I really like the app. Crisp and to the point, but with the legitimacy of WSJ powering it.” Alec Cutler, Director, Orbis Investments
“WSJ City is brilliant at filtering out the noise and providing essential information on the City of London and wider business world.” Martin Gilbert, chief executive, Aberdeen Asset Management
Best Use of Mobile 2017 sponsored by Verve