How Nova Entertainment changed its UX for better content engagement

What this radio station had to do in order to meet the changing content consumption needs of consumers

Nova Entertainment recently built a pop culture, news and entertainment platform, Goat, to appeal to the demands of an increasingly mobile-first youth. The platform was built using digital experience platform, WP Engine to ensure it was fast, user friendly, appealed to young people and took a mobile only approach.

However, not long into the project, Nova recognised it needed to revamp this concept, making the site compatible on other platforms. Though the initial concept was a novelty, Nova chief digital officer, Fayad Tohme, said millennials today are accessing content in so many different ways, it needed to adapt in order for Goat to thrive.

“Goat is the product built a year ago, and initially we went with mobile only because according to the demographic and our research, 90 per cent of the younger demographic consume and use pop culture and news via mobile devices, most specifically in social," Tohme said. "But when the product evolved, and the channels evolved, we found we also needed to expand channels and target our audience wherever they are. So it's not just about mobile, but also the different type of devices, and the different types of content distribution."

Since then, Nova has worked with XWP Agency to overhaul the Nova FM website to stand out in a competitive media and marketing landscape. To do this, it consolidated all station sites into one, made it faster to load, and added a persistent radio player, so users can listen to the radio while scrolling across different Nova sites, and optimised it editorial experience.

Tohme said Nova is delighted with the increase in engagement it has achieved by overhauling user experience (UX) on its sites.

“Website users are no different than any other city in the Western world; they are tech savvy, and they have high expectations. So building products that are user friendly, fast, responsive, interactive, designed to engage, and sleek in design when it comes to content and experience is critical,” he told CMO.

“There is a very short span to attract, and keep, attention. So to get user attention you need to do the UX work right, and do it once. Consumers continuously compare experiences to other products, so the bar is high.”

XWP Agency used open source technology to improve the UX. In particular, the team deployed a progressive Web app (PWA), which gives users a mobile-friendly and app-like experience when using the site from their phones.

However, it wasn’t just the technology. Everything has been overhauled, from the content curation, headlines, imagery, down to the content’s tone of voice, which must be authentic and genuine to connect with younger consumers, Tohme added.

“With the tone of voice, especially with the youth and millennials, we had to move towards being more authentic, genuine and actually have a conversation with them when it comes to our articles and content," he said. “So we now tend to work through more at their level, rather than telling them something in a top down fashion. We have to be working from their point of view. So we work on empathy and also relatability."

With a lot of content consumed on social, as well as the move into voice and audio content, Tohme said Nova recognises different content requires different channels. Therefore, the channels and the content is dependent on the product itself, and may be consumed on or off platform.

“So it depends on the product and channel, if they consume content off platform like on Goat, where they discover and engage with our content via social channels like Instagram and Facebook and others, then having a core site is more important than an app," he continued. “We've experimented with a broad group of social but what we found is Facebook and Instagram, specifically Instagram, are our most important channels. Our traffic from Instagram has probably doubled in the last year, and we are looking at unique content opportunities like TikTok.

“However, we also have people listening to the radio on the Internet, people listening to podcasts or audio on demand, or watch a specific video series and transact with us that way. Having a dedicated channel like an app builds a better user experience for this content."

On the main channel, it’s about traffic via mobile devices on the Web, while apps are built for a more loyal and more committed audience to go into channels directly. To further innovate here, Nova is working on a voice app for Alexa and Google smart speakers and audio devices.

The content strategy itself is different right down to the tone of voice and the approach, Tohme added. "Nova is more fresh entertainment news, it's an extension to our broadcast radio content, so reality TV content is critical and are also more likely to be celebrity gossip and these are the things that have traction," he explained.

“Other sites, like Girl, is more feisty, sassy and informative, so we drive more opinion-based pieces, where it has more twists in the approach. Across sites we can both be talking about the same content but one of them, for example Max, might be a of recap from last night, however on Girl we may look at it is life lessons learned around toxic relationships or life lessons general, and so the angle is different while the content is the same.”

Up next: How this new content approach is opening up fresh content marketing opportunities, plus delving into the tech

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