If you're reading this, it's safe to assume you read Android Central on a regular basis — thank you! — and were likely surprised by the onslaught of Pokémon content that's flooded the site over the last few days. We were caught by surprise, too!
In all our years of running Android Central, Pokémon Go has been the biggest product launch we've ever seen. The same is true of our sibling site, iMore. Bigger than a new Android release or Galaxy S device launch. Bigger than a new iPhone. More active users on Android than Twitter or Snapchat, and some are even saying more than Google Maps. It's B.I.G.
Here's the thing — We live in a world where literally billions of people own smartphones now. So, an app launch of this magnitude attracts the interest of more than just Galaxy S7 or HTC 10 owners. More than just a single carrier, region, or even platform. It attracts the interest of everybody. That's why it's driving greater demand for Android Central content than any single hardware or software release we've ever seen before. It's something that can appeal to practically everyone, almost everywhere. And that's why we're covering the heck out of it.
Pokémon Go is bigger than a new Android release or Galaxy S device launch. Bigger than a new iPhone.
Now, we understand that many of you don't like that Android Central appears to have become Pokémon Central. We totally understand that, and we're working together so the next time a phenomenon like this happens again, we're better prepared to continue to deliver you an Android Central experience that you value and love, while also doing our jobs to serve the mainstream smartphone consumer.
Heck, we're starting now. Here's a new, special RSS feed that includes everything on Android Central except Pokémon. We call it the Pokémon NO feed. So, if you'd rather not read anything about it again, this is for you:
I get Pokémon, but why so much of it?
Android Central is just that — Central. We've always seen it as our mission to do the absolute best coverage possible about everything Android and Android-related. That includes bandwagoning any and all major releases. We've done it before, and we'll do it again. It's simply that the nature of major releases has changed.
We do, and always have, serve many types of Android owners at Android Central. Our most engaged community is the daily reader who views and treats us a publication — those of you who see us as a daily destination, use the AC app, or follow us on RSS or social. You're likely an early adopter and tech enthusiast and you value Android Central for its news, reviews and editorial analysis, and you value our awesome community of users.
When we launched Android Central, you were the only audience for our content, which is why we love you so much. Today, though, our early adopter core — those of you reading this — represent approximately 1% of the visitors who access Android Central on a monthly basis.
For many years now, we have also served the mainstream consumer technology audience, which has grown to make up a whopping 99% of our visitors. These are just average people — not readers in the same sense — who use Google to search, or see something shared on social and want help or advice.
This Pokémon coverage lead to Mobile Nation's highest trafficked Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and likely Thursday EVER.
They don't read the homepage or daily news, and we don't have a dialogue with them the way we do with you. They view our content as a service helping them in the moment. There's a reason that, in addition to our news and review coverage, we also produce so much help, product and app recommendation content — because there is a tremendous demand for it, and we'd rather be the ones delivering that content than another outlet (and we know we can do it best!).
Both our core and mainstream audiences are extremely important to us, and we do our best to cater to the needs of all of you. If we only picked one audience to address and not the other, we wouldn't be here today doing what we love to do. It takes both to make this a sustainable business.
Coming back to Pokémon Go, the reaction to the game and demand for Pokémon Go content has been like nothing we have ever seen before, and we had to react to it quickly. Our editorial team shouldn't be criticized for that, but commended for it. They gave up their weekends and abandoned their previous plans to come in and write what we think is the best Pokémon Go content on the web. It was an everyone on deck, day-and-night effort to get it done, and they did it — and did it well!
It lead to Mobile Nation's highest trafficked Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and likely Thursday EVER. The ~100 Pokémon-related articles we produced literally doubled, maybe even tripled our entire visitor base. This is us producing content as a service to match the real-time needs of Android and iPhone owners looking for help with Pokémon Go.
It's not link bait and it's not click bait. The "bait" part in both means "bait and switch" — teasing one thing and delivering something else, much less desirable. We didn't and never would try to trick any of our readers. We wouldn't stick Pokémon on a Nougat article or Samsung on a Pokémon article. We're delivering exactly what we promise: advice and assistant for those looking for it.
Tech media is a tough business, so when opportunities like this happen you either seize the moment or somebody else does. As a company, we always strive to our best so we can keep doing what we love to do for years to come. It's not always fun, but crushing something like Pokémon is what helps to pay the bills so we can keep serving our core community, which is what we love to do most.
Yeah, yeah, yeah ... so how are you going to fix it for me so I can quit seeing the stuff I don't want to see?
Prior to Poké-Gate, our product team was already cooking up some ideas on how we can better serve both our audiences. The challenge we have today is that in order to reach the mainstream (as in, get the help and recommendation content published to the web), we still need to show it to our homepage, regular reading audience (you). As it gets mixed in with our news, reviews, and editorial coverage, it can get a little bit… messy. Especially for you, the core reader. For those of our visitors who come into our articles and content sideways, whether from google or social referrals, it's less of a problem.
One immediate fix was already created by an Android Central member in the form of a Chrome Extension that hides content that mentions Pokémon. Brilliant! For those of you who follow us via an RSS reader, we created the new feed sans Pokémon stories.
For those of you using the AC app, we're also looking at a way to block Pokémon stories via our API from hitting the app, which will keep the AC app Pokémon free. If none of those solutions help you in the short term, then we appreciate your patience; the good news is it's easy to scroll or swipe past a story you don't care about.
In the latter half of 2016, you'll see us roll out many changes that better position Android Central to serve both our audiences better than we ever have before. If you're a regular reader, you'll get the stuff you want in the way that you've always loved it before, without any of the content you care less about. And for our ever-growing mainstream audience, we're going to deliver that content in a manner that's more approachable and friendly than ever before.
Expect a mix of both product, feature, branding, design, and content changes through the back half of the year.
That all makes sense. Thanks, Android Central!
You're welcome! Again, thanks for the Pokémon patience and more importantly, the passion! We can't please everybody all of the time (even though we wish we could), but it's the dialog and passion from our most hardcore users that we love and cherish the most.
Chief Media Officer, Mobile Nations