News and Events module improvements

Featured News and Events are the newest platform improvements available to all Shoutem users. How does featuring certain news and events improve your app?

Shoutem users probably know that the Places module already supports featuring selected places on listings. The good news is that the same is now true for the News and Events modules.

By default, all items will be sorted and displayed in the app based on certain criteria once a user opens the app and selects a Places, News, or Events listing. For Places, the default criterion is distance, with places ordered from nearest to farthest from the user’s location. Sorting places by distance makes perfect sense from the user experience perspective.

If you’re searching for a good pizzeria or bike repair shop, you don’t want to see ones that are far away. Ideally, you could find some tasty pizza and chardonnay around the corner, and your bike could be repaired close to your office so you can pick it up after work, right?

For some time now, app owners could override this default sorting by “featuring” selected items in Places module on the list. If the app owner marks places as featured, those places will be displayed at the top of the list of places regardless of how far they are from the user. In that way, app owners can highlight or promote specific places.

Beginning this week, highlighting selected News and Events items is also supported.

Below you will find two examples of how Shoutem app owners are using featured items for promotion and monetization.

Shoutem_app builder_featured

– Pinpoint special news and events

Let’s say a restaurant owner is expanding her business by opening a new location in three months. To reach new customers, she is organizing an opening party. However, since three months is a long time, the news item announcing the new place and the event invitation might sink to the bottom of the lists.

To keep users from missing information that is crucial for the smooth launch of your new business, the owner can pin the news item to the top so it will stay visible for the next three months.

With the featuring functionality, you can pinpoint and highlight Events, News, and Places in your app and override the default sorting. By highlighting one or few items, you can make sure the most important items stay at the top of the list so they will grab your customers’ attention and so they won’t go unnoticed.

How featured events are displayed in the app

– Monetize your app

Another great way to use this new feature helps you monetize your app.

If you own an app of your town, businesses like restaurants or stores can sponsor selected content blocks in your app. You can offer deals to businesses such as restaurants, spas, or barbers so they can promote their news stories or special events.

Let’s go back to our example of the new restaurant opening. If the restaurant doesn’t have its own app, the owner can share news about the new place and the grand opening party in the town’s app. In exchange for a promotion fee, you could pin the promotion details to the top of the list of local news for a specific period. The same offer could include pinning the invitation to the opening party to the top of the Events section.

Thanks to smartphones, humans’ attention spans have fallen to eight seconds, which means we now have shorter attention spans than goldfish. Since you have only eight seconds to show content to users, make sure you provide the most important information in the right way with these two tactics.