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How to keep your digital magazine readers engaged with an app

Team PaperLit


One of the biggest problems with a digital magazine app is that you usually see a spike in usage when a new issue is released, but for the rest of the month, you have a much lower usage. 

However, even if you are a magazine with a set publishing schedule, that doesn’t mean you can’t do re-engagement activities that generate more app usage.

If digital magazine readers want something from you, it’s that you keep them entertained. Your digital magazine doesn’t have to stay in a once-a-month engagement strategy. You can still keep a decent engagement level even a week or two after an issue is published.

So let’s take a look at the things you can do to keep your digital magazine readers engaged with your app.


Push notifications

These are those notifications that appear on your phone that are sent even if the app is closed. You can program push notifications to show up when your new issue is out but also for reminders or to help inform readers when you have new content, and this is particularly useful if you have live content, but more on that later.


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Save for later

You’ll have readers that aren’t binge consumers but subscribe to the magazine more for information snacking – consuming content at a time that would have otherwise been wasted. This means it’s possible that their reading would be interrupted and they would just plan to pick it up again later.

What you can do is offer readers the chance to save articles for viewing later. You can even use push notifications as reminders for when they are less busy during the day.



Before, with print, you only had one chance to deliver content to your users. But with a digital app, you have a direct line to your readers. You can actually continue feeding them content outside of your usual publication schedule.

One way to do this is to include an RSS feed in your app that automatically feeds fresh content regularly. You can choose to produce these updates yourself or enlist the help of syndicated articles. Another option is to provide live streamed videos every now and then. These can be interviews or live coverage of events.

When you have live content, be sure your app has push notifications to inform your readers. If possible, there should also be an option to view the content later.

Polls, contests and rewards

Adopting a bit of gamification should be beneficial for ensuring more engagement with your readers. But how do we gamify our digital magazine? One easy way is to incorporate polls in your articles getting your readers’ opinion on the issue discussed by the article and then showing the global results of your poll live.

It can even be as simple as a reaction meter on each article on how the article made them feel – happy, sad, angry or optimistic. After voting, the poll can show them how other readers felt.

Some publishers even incorporate the reader into the story itself through gamification. For example, a story on the average millennial wealth across the world in a millennial-focused magazine can start with a quick survey asking for the reader’s estimated net worth and country of residence. After, the article shows where the reader fits on the scale and shows whether they are within the average range, below or above average and then they can read the rest of the article.

You can also run contests. Combine push notifications with pop quizzes on your articles. Better yet, combine them with rewards. If you have other publications, offer a free issue of your other publications.

If you have comments enabled, provide the option to upvote or downvote comments. And then you can create a rank system for your subscribers where the more they are upvoted, they get a higher rank. This is commonly used in forums to encourage discussion, but the same concepts can certainly be applied in digital magazines.

And how about user acquisition?

Getting your digital magazine readers engaged is just one small part of making your digital magazine app successful. Before even thinking about how to retain readers, you should first have readers to retain!

Gaining new users isn’t easy, and there aren’t too many app promotion tactics out there that’s specifically about digital magazine apps. To have a stronger app promotion strategy for your digital magazine, download our Starter’s Guide to App Promotion and User Acquisition for Magazine and Newspaper App Publishers!