'Wall Street Journal' spins off mobile app

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The Wall Street Journal spin-off, building an iPhone application was probably a no-brainer. But how the site built and marketed its app—which was downloaded more than 25,000 times in less than a month—holds some lessons for marketers of all stripes.

The app itself, which debuted in May, is a fairly straightforward news reader, except that in addition to the text content, the app can playback videos inside its interface.

To drive downloads, put small ad modules on its home page, as well as at the top of every page of its site. One ad linked directly to Apple's App Store, another to a description page on the site. In early June, the company began running print ads—three a week—in the Journal, resulting in a nice uptick. Online ads ran across the Wall Street Journal Digital Network and in an HTML e-mail campaign to subscribers.

“We've been very encouraged by the initial feedback—both from loyal readers of the site and new users who have discovered us on the app store or through our advertising,” said Christine Mohan, director of operations for and D: All Things Digital.

For now, the AllThingsD app is free, though the interface has room for ads, Mohan said.

The app was built using NewsGator's iPhone Media App Framework, which enabled it to have slick built-in capabilities—such as video playback and finger-swipe-controlled photo albums—while speeding development, Mohan said. —R.K.

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