Online channels have long since dominated news distribution. Despite the number of platforms available to us today, the general reading experience has shown little net improvement since going digital, as we now battle with poor quality news boosted by shoddy algorithms, and information overload through social media sharing.
Zhao Jing, Flipboard’s China lead, is looking to capitalise on these conditions and make Flipboard China’s lukewarm growth reflect the successes – 100 million monthly active users – seen in other markets outside the mainland. His view is for Flipboard to ‘help people efficiently find the content that interests them’, ultimately helping those who want to read and stay up-to-date, but don’t know which channel to choose.
Previously head of Flipboard Mobile in China, Zhao Jing links the app’s slow uptake to product-related issues. Since the start of 2017, Flipboard has been improving everything from back-end tech to UX and front-end, releasing a new version recently. They’ve also now got a Chinese name – 红板报(means Red Poster) – which the Chinese won’t misspell!
“Over the past three years, Flipboard has accumulated more than 500 high-quality content sources in China and a certain number of high-quality active users, on this basis, through optimizing product logic and algorithm, the Red Poster can give Chinese users a better reading experience. ” Zhao Jing told 36Kr.
Flipboard are bullish on their algo for sorting articles. They have found that using a more ‘humanised’ sorting method yields more accurate results – this means using data on which articles users preferred from earlier app versions – based also on number of saves and shares – to recognize articles they may like in the future, instead of boosting articles based on a one-size-fits-all algo favouring article views at the source website, e.g. TechCrunch. This model bears some resemblance to Zhihu’s sorting method for its own daily news offering.
From topic classification to algorithmic improvement, the purpose of the Red Poster is to help users sift out a good article in a selected topic and obtain the most valuable information more efficiently. For example, if you want to read information about the evaluation of iPhone8, the Red Poster will pick out the primium piece from lots of information.
This year, Flipboard’s 30-strong China team will officially launch its commercial efforts, building on previous partnerships with Amazon China, Emirates Airlines, Michelin and Hugo Boss, as well as starting a push into short video content.
This article originally appeared in 36kr, was edited and translated by Pandaily.
Click here to read the original Chinese article.