The Weather Channel is one of the veterans of cross-platform app development. Weather is an important service for all mobile users and they support an impressive number of mobile platforms, including Apple, Android, Palm, Windows and Blackberry, having racked up more than 45 million cumulative downloads.
However, given all Smartphones come with a default weather app as standard what are some of the keys to The Weather Channel’s success? Google’s Guide to the App Galaxy helped provided some answers.
Having a strong cross-platform brand certainly helps:
Cross-platform across television, web, and mobile channels has been key in driving downloads of The Weather Channel apps. Targeted banner ads run on the mobile web site promoting the TWC app that’s native to that device or operating system. Users of the free, ad-supported apps will see banner ads promoting an upgrade to the premium versions, where available. Additionally, users who have not downloaded the most recent version of the app will be served a banner linking them to the latest release
And those strong cross-platform relationships with advertisers also helped drive advertising on mobile channels:
We developed an ad strategy and used our existing sales force to sell mobile ad app inventory directly to advertisers. Because we already sell ads across our television network and websites, selling mobile ads in our apps was a natural extension, and helped advertisers reach their audience across three screens.
And as we saw with Angry Birds developer Rovio, there is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to business models and monetisation, so it pays to have multiple revenue streams:
To diversify our revenue streams, we offered The Weather Channel Max app as a paid download. The premium apps feature new, innovative technology, additional functionality such as future radar and push alerts, and no ads. Premium versions of the TWC BlackBerry, iPhone and iPod Touch apps are currently available, and the premium Android app is coming soon
And again, similar to Rovio, it pays to keep a close eye on user reviews:
To encourage repeat visits and sustained usage of our products, we build quality apps that take into account feedback from our users. This feedback is one of the most important factors that we focus on when developing the next release. We read all reviews in the app marketplaces and keep a close eye on star ratings and trends, especially after each new release of an app. Additionally, we’ve built in functionality that allows users to email bugs directly from the app.
So, listen to your users, diversify your revenue models and drive users and advertisers alike from your other platforms.