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I have been working as marketing expert and journalist for many years and own a marketing consultancy which is helping many clients across the countryA few days back when I visited my relatives in Bakura which is a remote location in West Bengal one morning I found my uncle who generally do not tend to give much time for reading newspaper seriously indulged in reading short news on his smartphoneBeing a marketing expert and journalist from a metropolitan city whenever I confront the word shortnews app it was always Inshorts which used to strike in my mindBut to my surprise my uncle was using way2news a vernacular short news app for Bengali newsAlthough I heard that Way2news is giving fierce competition to In shorts from the beginning until I encountered its reachability to tier 2 and tier 3 towns like Bakura it did not seem to be a remarkable player in the short news marketThat got me thinking what could Way2news has achieved so far by foraying into a largely untapped segment of news readers who want to consume news in their native languagesAnd is it something where In shorts is losing its gameLets seeInshorts VS Way2NewsI determined that there is a need to analyze the growth of both the apps from the beginning to understand their potentiality on the scale of higher rationalityTo begin with Inshorts Inshorts was launched in 2013 with a shortnews format by facilitating the need of the public with lower attention span especially youngsters and working demography to read the news and get updated within less timeEncouraged by the market response it started acquiring funding from the sturdy group of angel investors including Times Internet Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal cofounders of FlipkartIn 2015 it successfully raised 24 million funding together in Series A round led by an international investment company Tiger Global along with Flipkart and Rebright as partners and Series B led by Tiger GlobalI can say that it was an irrefutable backing received by the Inshorts and being the first app in the country with the shortnews format it had tremendous opportunities to leverage massive market with no much competitionIn fact I would say that it had no competition in the shortnews category for two solid years until way2news was launched in 2015 by Way2Online the countrys largest martech companyUnlike Inshorts Way2News was a bootstrap project which enforced it to show much prudence and diligence in its every shot of marketingWhile Inshorts growth was escalating through various Inorganic tactics I found Way2News showing nominal interest in paid advertising from the beginning and was embracing viral marketingWhen I looked into the growth processes of both the startups since 2015 Inshorts focused mainly on recruitments and expanding its resources and managementIt also acquired RetentionAI formerly called as Beta glide in 2015 to track its uninstallationsIn the other hand I learnt from the Way2News salesperson that it was a bit alleviation for way2news being a product of Martech company as it was backed up with unique AI technology from its parent company which tracks user preferences in three months frameworkHowever it is evident that Way2News tend to keep its team to a limited number in contrary to Inshorts and invested its resources in fast iterations of multiple user engagement strategies where Inshorts played for timeWhere did they reachAlthough both the apps function almost similar by providing shortnews which is curated from different popular newspapers websites blogs and magazines with flip experience I found both the apps travelled in different strategic directionsWhen I consider the reports from Similar web which tracks and provides traffic statistics and analytics the Google play store ranking graphs of Inshorts and Way2news projected the neck and neck competition between the apps in the span of last 90 daysKeeping user acquisition as the key performance metric I proceeded further to acquire statistics from different internal and external sources of the companiesFrom the facts and figures provided by Media Antcom an ecommerce platform for media buying which has Inshorts in its clientele Inshorts acquired around 8 million downloads till nowSince I could not obtain required statistical insights about way2news through external sources I contacted its salesperson through one of my clientsAnd I found Way2News surpassed my estimation and expectation by acquiring over 17 million downloads till today which is way ahead of Inshorts numbersTo my surprise it has crossed the magic number of 10 million downloads back in December2016When I continued to compare the data from Media Ant about Inshorts and figures obtained from way2News salesperson I found that way2news has beaten the Inshorts in most of the critical performance metricsI noticed that Inshorts account for an average of 25 Billion screen views every month whereas Way2news acquires an average of 34 billion screen views and at least 100 news stories are viewed by each user every day scoring strong user engagement rates for the appDespite getting launched two years later the Inshorts got released in the market and without a backup of massive funds from investors and huge marketing budgets how did Way2news is bringing in such a vast user base is an interesting stunt which has driven me to write this articleLocalization is the keyWhen I proceeded to interpret the reasons for the statistical figures achieved by Way2News which are much higher than that of InshortsI can see that Inshorts acquired the majority of its user base from metros and tier 1 cities where the news in the English language has a substantial marketAlthough it included news in Hindi version its brand image as English news app sidelined it from acquiring expected installations from Hindi news readersIt is wellknown saying thatThe next billion Indians come from vernacularSupporting that I found many statistics from different experiments like the one from KPMG and Google has conducted according to which India is estimated to have around 500 million smartphone users by 2022And in 2016 167 million users were accessing digital news in Indian languages and it is expected to grow to 392 million by 2021In other words I can say that there is massive scope for mobile news apps which provide content in the native languages at present and near futureAnd I cannot furnish this analysis with any better example other than way2newsAlthough News apps like Daily hunt and Newspoint already had their eminent footprints in vernacular news market they provide news in the extended formatI see that it is where way2news came up with different strategy by implementing a hybrid model of vernacular and short news which targets short news market by providing flip experience to the local audience in their native languagesAs a result it is acquiring almost 8090 of traction from regional languagesI can see that providing manually curated short news in 8 Indian languages along with English Way2news is obtaining its majority of the market from tier 2 and tier 3 cities while maintaining significant traction from metropolitansI learnt that it also went further with technology tweaking which allowed the app to reach out to tier 2 and tier 3 cities as without much problem where bandwidth availability and highend smartphone penetration are issuesWhen I continued to probe much deeper into way2news it is evident that the localization strategy of the app makers did not limit to language onlyStarting from the font selection to strategic iterations I can see that way2news continued to embrace localized user experienceWhile sharing the incidents of servers crash down due to heavy traffic when Tamil Nadu Chief Minister then Ms Jayalalithaa passed away and recent Karnataka elections the salesperson also mentioned that the app got massive engagement and shares for local news than international affairs It encouraged the way2news team to focus more on district level and state level happeningsOn a final noteFrom the recent past Inshorts started acquiring revenues by leveraging Inapp advertising in its platformTo analyze the dope I acquired Inshorts media kit which was released by the app for Inapp advertising in which the app claimed to have Daily App Users of around 25 millionHowever in the same media kit when I checked out the details provided for advertisement options the app insisted on delivering not more than 1 million views on any ad content formatIn fact it mentioned giving only 450 lakh views for front page stories which is quite lower and dubious range for any app having DAU of more than 2 millionWhy is such a substantial user engagement not reflecting in the deliverables is what Inshorts needs to review right nowComing to Way2news it indeed shows no sign of balking as it is growing with new user acquisition with downloads ranging from 1800023000 every day and it obtains an average of 24000 daily app users organicallyIt is also gearing up to launch its new apps for business and communities as per the details I received from the salespersonAll my research on Inshorts and Way2News has driven me to understand an elucidation of the business growth analogy of Hare and TurtleI would say that its dilatory on behalf of Inshorts to prove its endeavor in the vernacular marketAs pointed out before in spite of bringing in massive funding and resources and launched almost two years before Way2news Inshorts could not acquire the highest number of user acquisition in the category of short news apps while Way2news triumphed it by focusing on the regional market.

surendar raunak

@ blogger | Posted 24 Jun, 2019 | Others

Posted By: surendar raunak (Posted 24 Jun, 2019)

Inshorts Vs Way2News: Who is winning?


I have been working as marketing expert and journalist for many years, and own a marketing consultancy which is helping many clients across the country.

A few days back, when I visited my relatives in Bakura which is a remote location in West Bengal, one morning, I found my uncle, who generally do …

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