Apple’s latest updates to Apple News are geared towards analytics, although some neat new bits of functionality, like time zone-specific notifications and great control over the podcast component, allow publishers to improve UX in their channel. Here are some of the new features we’d like to highlight:
Send Notifications to Time Zone Regions
Publishers can send notifications to specific time zone regions in specific territories, including:
United States (Pacific, Mountain, Central, Eastern).
These are accessible through the Create Notification dialog box under Territories & Time Zones. Time zones have been added to the notification metadata, and publishers can see time zones and territories in the Analytics dashboard under Notifications.
Apple advises that a successful notification does two things: it increases engagement with your content in the app, and provides a high-value experience for the reader. To guarantee this, publishers must use notifications responsibly, and use them to clearly highlight an experience that only they can provide in 130 characters or less. Teaser notifications are discouraged, as are marketing notifications, and any that feature vulgar language.
For Apple’s full notification guidelines, click here.
Publishers can use the podcast component to link to a podcast or podcast episode. The link provides a button ‘Listen on Apple Podcasts’ prompting readers to listen to the podcast or podcast episode. The link opens the Apple Podcasts app.
Publishers should know that the component uses two optional properties to provide basic layout and colour theme customisations. By default, ‘Orientation’ automatically adjusts the layout of the subcomponents according to the width of the reader’s device, and ‘Theme’ allows publishers to specify a light or dark appearance independent of the device’s light or dark mode setting.
For Apple’s full Podcast component guidelines, click here.
Channel Summary Report for All Channels
The Channels Summary report is available to publishers with more than one channel. The Administrator, Editor-in-Chief, Editor, or Sales role is required to access it. The report includes data for all channels but the data for each channel is kept separate. The maximum date range for the report is 31 days.
Apple News publishers will now be able to see data about notifications and featured/trending articles, download analytics reports from charts or top articles tables, receive recurring analytics reports via email, receive custom analytics reports for single channels, receive the same for multiple channels, and more. Elsewhere, click-through rate has been added to notification reports and the Analytics dashboard.
Publishers can now use either the Share URL ID or article ID to update, delete, or read article information. Also, there’s a helpful new error message, entitled DUPLICATE_ARTICLE_FOUND. If received, it’ll reveal the original article ID. Developers, consult Apple’s guidance on creating an article and updating an article for more information.
A number of updates have been made to Apple News Format, too, including deprecations of some objects and properties. Publishers, we’d invite you to get to grips with these changes here.