BuzzFeed launched an Android version of its news app today, as the iOS app has been downloaded more than 350,000 times since launch.
The BuzzFeed News app features a 'Quickly catch up' news section, which alerts readers of news they may have missed, as well as more in-depth news stories from BuzzFeed and other publishers.
The Android app is being rolled out with native push notifications, as the alerts proved popular with iOS users, who BuzzFeed reports choose to opt in and enable to feature.
"We're obsessed with being thoughtful about people's time and attention, and we know that news happens when people are asleep or in meetings or having dinner with friends," Stacy-Marie Ishmael, managing editor for mobile news at BuzzFeed News, told Journalism.co.uk in an email.
The app allows BuzzFeed readers to choose which topics they get alerts on, and also includes a 'do not disturb' mode to pause the notifications.
"We want to give them the control and tell us when they're willing to be interrupted," she said.
Laura E. Davis, mobile news editor at BuzzFeed, wrote a blog post in June about the team's approach to push notifications, and the questions they ask before deciding to send an alert through the app.
Aside from the more usual questions to determine if a story is newsworthy, the team also asks whether a reader will "appreciate" the notification.
"Because if you’ve alienated your audience with one too-many inscrutable notifications, what good is all that judgment your newsroom is putting into their stories?," Davis wrote in the post.
BuzzFeed claims that, on average, users spend between four and five minutes within the News app each session.
The iOS app was launched in June and is designed to support a variety of storytelling formats, from text-based pieces and numbered lists to timelines, charts or maps.
Another storytelling tool BuzzFeed has been using within its app is a recent mobile messaging staple – emoji.
"We use emojis directly within the content because they are an expressive, interesting, and surprisingly information-dense form of communication," explained Ishmael.
For BuzzFeed, using emoji in the app is a way of getting information to its mobile readers quickly, as they may only skim a story rather than read the full text. "And we like them," she added.
How BuzzFeed uses emoji inside the App. Screenshots from iOS
Free daily newsletter
- Samantha Tomaszewski, social strategy leader, BuzzFeed, on career in social media audience engagement
- Five tips to get started with mobile journalism
- Weekly journalism news update: design thinking, mobile journalism for local news and UK data units
- What Android device do you need for mobile reporting?
- Six must-have apps for mobile journalists