The Complete Guide to Publishing on News Apps

Matt Yau

Table of contents

What is a news aggregator?
How do news aggregators surface content?
Why publish your content on news apps?
How to get content onto news apps?
How can news apps drive engagement, conversion and retention?
Can content be monetised with news aggregators?
Which is the best news aggregator for publishers?


Did you know readers spend an average of 31 minutes on news apps every day? But as the digital world sprawls further, more and more content ecosystems are popping up everywhere. From email newsletters to social media, or rss feeds to news aggregators, it can be hard to know how and where to distribute your content. That’s why distribution continues to be a growing challenge for publishers.

With so much content spread all over the web, news aggregators have become a popular and reliable source of information for readers all around the world. But which news apps are right for your publication and how can you get your content on them?

We’re going to cover everything you need to know about news aggregators including how to optimise your content for them, how to develop your audience on them and how you can leverage them to generate an additional revenue stream.

If you want to find your answers more quickly, use the chapter links in the table of contents.

What is a news aggregator?

A news aggregator is a platform that gathers content and information from online sources and displays it all in one place making it quick and easy for readers to access the latest happenings around the world. This can include online newspapers, podcasts, videos, infographics and just about any type of digital content you can find from established publishers.

Some news apps are technically straightforward to deliver to but some do have more technical setups which can present challenges for publishers. If you want to learn more about what news aggregators are right for your publication and how you can start distributing your content to them, get in touch with our experts at Press Publish.

How do news aggregators surface content?

Most news aggregators work using a combination of algorithms and reader-selected topics. But the goal is always the same; to surface relevant, newsworthy content that the reader is interested in.

Some news apps like Flipboard focus heavily on a user-curated experience which allows readers to carefully tailor the content they see or to simply follow topic-based feeds made by the publisher.

Other aggregators like Google Discover use a wider range of tools to surface content including search activity, web activity such as recently read articles, and device activity such as location settings to curate the content surfaced.

Apple uses human editors to curate their top stories of the day to ensure readers see only the highest quality and most relevant story of the day. After all, curating news content is serious business.

So how can you scale your content delivery when there’s all these little nuances between all the different news apps? 

With Press Publish, we’ll help you: 

  • Find gaps in your content distribution and therefore identify the best news apps for your content
  • Categorise and optimise your stories for each platform to ensure you maximise your reach
  • Protect your setup so it maintains a 100% stable delivery to each news app

Speak to our expert team at Press Publish and find out how you can grow your audience.

Why publish your content on news apps?

When you look at the number of people on these apps, it’s not hard to see how big the potential reach is. To add to this, an Ofcom report that looked into news consumption in the UK found that readers are continuing to move away from TV, radio and print and onto the internet, as we’d expect. This trend is even more pronounced amongst younger audiences.

Crucially, Ofcom has also been monitoring news aggregator app usage specifically. The trend they’re seeing is a slow but steady rise in its usage year-on-year. We suspect this steady rise will pick up more steam as AI will become the next innovative method to deliver relevant news to users.

In a world where content distribution continues to be a challenge, news aggregator apps offer another avenue to reach new audiences by surfacing relevant content. Whether that’s based on algorithms, user-selected topics or human editors depends on the app. But they all present audience development opportunities, and depending on the kind of publication, some of these curation methods will suit your business over others.

Once readers are engaging with your content, most of these apps then offer a range of conversion and retention tools to help meet commercial goals. On Flipboard and Upday, readers are taken directly to your site so you’re able to make use of the existing conversion mechanisms on your site. On Apple News, working with FlatPlan (our sister brand that specialises in Apple News) will give you access to bespoke tools such as follow actions, read next links and other reader engagement instruments.

We work with a range of major publishers to help them leverage all these tools for growth. If you’d like to find out more about how news aggregators can help you reach new audiences and turn them into loyal followers, speak to our news app experts at Press Publish.

Reasons to distribute content to news apps:
  • Reach new audiences
  • News aggregator app usage going up year-on-year in the UK
  • Massive source of referral traffic from those that drive traffic directly to the publisher's site
  • Able to make use of existing conversion and retention mechanisms with news apps that push readers to the publisher's site
  • Bespoke conversion and retention tools when working with us on apps that display content natively
  • Opportunities to build a loyal community with aggregators like Flipboard
  • Can generate additional revenue from ads
  • This arena is likely to get bigger with the use of AI to curate content for readers
  • Automate many of these processes by working with Press Publish

How to get content onto news apps?

There are different onboarding processes for each of the apps so it’s something to be aware of. Some have relatively simple and fast onboarding process while others like Apple News and SmartNews have a stricter onboarding process as they only want high quality journalism on their platforms.

There are also technical hurdles to navigate. Any news app that displays content in a native format means you’ll need to convert your articles to meet those requirements. Sometimes, your content might even need to be restructured to comply with technical requirements.

This can obviously be a costly and time consuming process. Which is why major publishers around the world trust Press Publish to automate these processes to speed up delivery to news aggregators.

But getting your content onto these news platforms isn’t enough. To outrank the competition and maximise growth on these channels, you’ll want to optimise your content too. This requires a deep understanding of every news aggregator you’re using to extract as much value from them as possible.

While we do cover some of the intricacies of some platforms within our articles, to get rich insights we recommend speaking to our experts at Press Publish to find out which platform suits your media business and how to get the most out of them to meet commercial goals.

How can news apps drive engagement, conversion and retention?

While news apps tend to focus on reach and discoverability, they all offer some way to drive conversions. The ones that drive traffic directly to your site (such as Google News, Google Discover, Flipboard and Upday) allow you to use your existing conversion tools. 

On the other hand, Apple News has fewer opportunities to drive conversions as content appears natively on their apps. That’s why FlatPlan works directly with Apple to create bespoke retention and conversion tools to help publishers drive follows and subscriptions.

SmartNews tries to cover the best of both worlds. While it can be used to simply push readers to your site, you can also make use of their native content format SmartView which loads quicker and gives publishers extra conversion opportunities as well as revenue sharing from ads.

Flipboard also leaves conversion to you by driving traffic to your site. But it does boast of a range of engagement tools to attract new readers in the first place. You may want to use their Magazine function to curate your content around themes, topics or questions. This National Geographic Magazine dedicated to travel has 1.4 million followers – all of whom can like or comment on the articles selected. 

But you can take it much further than that. You can also organise your content into Storyboards which are more visually engaging and feel more like structured deep dives.

There are many tools like this across all the apps so if you’d like to learn more, have a chat with us at Press Publish about any news aggregator app.

Example of audience development tools in news aggregator apps
Bespoke audience developments tools that help publishers retain new readers are only available through Press Publish.

Can content be monetised with news aggregators?

In essence, yes. Even the apps that simply drive traffic to the publisher’s site allow for conversion and monetisation opportunities. In fact, this may suit your media business better as it allows you to use the existing conversion mechanisms that already live on the site. 

Apple News offers quite comprehensive ad revenue opportunities where you get to keep 100% of the revenue from ads you sell or 70% of the revenue from ads that Apple sells. You also get access to a campaign management tool so you can review and fine-tune your campaign performance. Head over to FlatPlan to find out more about advertising and monetisation on Apple News.

Some apps might only allow you to run ads in certain areas. In SmartNews for example, ads can only be run in SmartView, which is a sort of reader mode for the app and you get to keep all the revenue from ads placed here. So it’s worth understanding how each app works so that you know how to best leverage the tools at your disposal.

If you’d like to learn more about monetisation opportunities on news aggregators, come have a chat with the friendly team at Press Publish.

Which is the best news aggregator for publishers?

With so many news apps out there offering different solutions to the same problem, it can be hard to pick one that suits your media business. Is it about ease of use? Is it about the number of active readers? Or perhaps it’s about which platform gives you the best conversion tools?

So here’s a brief rundown of the most popular platforms that will give you the best chance to grow your audience.

Apple News

Apple News has grown so much and become such a reliable source of news that it’s now the most popular news app in the UK – it even surpasses the BBC in terms of reach. It had 125 million active readers back in 2020 so it’s likely to be even higher than that now. That’s why major publishers like Grazia, The Atlantic and Hello! use FlatPlan to make Apple News a crucial part of their distribution strategy.

Furthermore, there’s also the Apple News+ subscription service for premium publishers (especially magazines) who usually put their content behind a paywall. It’s another option for publishers who rely on subscriptions as you get a portion of the Apple News+ subscription fee.

There are a couple of hurdles for publishers though. Firstly, Apple News is presented as a trusted, informative source of news, so they typically only accept established news brands who produce high quality journalism. This means publications without a track record for quality journalism may struggle to gain access. Secondly, content is displayed natively and therefore needs to be converted to meet Apple News technical requirements.

With FlatPlan however, not only can we automatically convert and optimise your content for Apple News, we do this without any plugins, code or help from your developers. On top of that, FlatPlan also gives you bespoke conversion and engagement tools to help you grow your readership on Apple News and then turn them into subscribers making it more than just a platform to improve reach.


  • Large and active readership that is only going to grow
  • Suitable for premium content behind paywalls with Apple News+
  • Bespoke tools for audience development when using FlatPlan to distribute to Apple News
  • Audience engagement tools such as browsing history and links to similar content
  • Can generate revenue from ads


  • Some technical hurdles such as needing to convert content as stories are displayed natively in Apple News
  • High barrier to entry (but FlatPlan can handle the setup for you)

Want to publish on Apple News?

Find out more at FlatPlan can help you grow your audience there and then turn them into subscribers.

Find out more


Flipboard has been around since 2010. They were one of the first successful content aggregators and they’re still going strong today with 145 million active readers. It has a lower barrier to entry compared to Apple News and therefore gathers content from more sources including online publications, RSS feeds, social media channels and even independent blog posts. 

It also has a visually-engaging magazine-style format to organise and display content on Flipboard but once readers click through, they will be taken straight to your website thus empowering you to engage and convert readers on your own ecosystem.

They use an algorithm to curate content for readers but there’s also a topic system that means readers can curate for themselves. Publishers can drive engagement further still by curating content into mini Magazines and Storyboards which are Flipboard formats that help readers take a deep dive into a particular topic or theme.

At Press Publish, we specialise in the creation of these highly targeted Magazines to help publishers make use of these curation tools available on Flipboard. So whether you’re a specialist publication or cover a wide range of topics, Press Publish can help you leverage these tools to maximise your growth.


  • Loads of engagement tools like storyboards, curated magazines, and bookmarks
  • Relatively low barrier to entry so smaller publications and even blogs can gain access to Flipboard
  • User-generated communities helps Flipboard maintain engagement and provides additional avenues to surface content
  • Getting featured in the Flipboard newsletter can generate spikes in traffic


  • Can take time to build an audience, especially if you aren’t making use of the Magazines and Storyboard features
  • Limited analytics tools as readers are taking to the publisher’s site
  • The Magazines feature requires a specific form of delivery to work which can present technical obstacles
  • No system to notify publishers of delivery problems
Flipboard news feed
Google News

It’s no secret that Google has massive reach on any of its apps and platforms. On Google News, that reach is 280 million users. So getting your content onto Google News is a reliable way to grow your readership.

They provide a personalised feed to readers based on their location, interest and even browsing history which are then supplemented by Google’s world class algorithms to ensure content is relevant.

However, publishers don’t have much control of how content performs on Google News. So it’s easy to feel left out unless you’re one of the big players whose content is regularly listed. This where Press Publish can help.


  • Relatively low barrier to entry if you’re already producing newsworthy content
  • Massive reach thanks to the News tab in Google Search
  • Google News is on every Android phone natively
  • No longer need Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) to be listed in Google News


  • Publishers are at the mercy of algorithms so there’s little control in how content is surfaced
  • There’s a lack of engagement and retention tools compared to other news apps so publishers find that Google News is only good at driving traffic
  • Ongoing controversy between Google and news publishers due to copyright laws in Canada and France that means they’ve pulled some Google News links from those regions
  • Only suitable for dedicated news outlets
Google Discover

Google has two news apps? So what’s Google Discover and how is it different from Google News? While Google News focuses on breaking headlines, local news and weather, Google Discover is more likely to feature evergreen content and other pieces that aren’t as newsworthy but might still interest a reader if the topic is relevant.

So while Google News helps readers stay updated with newsworthy events around the world, Discover helps readers stay current on specific topics such as gaming, gardening or even specific titles such as Star Wars.

Due to this wider editorial remit, Google Discover boasts a massive 800 million-strong readership and therefore presents a massive opportunity for audience development.

So if you’ve recently published an exclusive interview with photographer Edward Burtynsky, then Google could show this content to people who have been reading other articles about Burtynsky, photography or climate change, even if the interview isn’t newsworthy.


  • By far the biggest readership of any news aggregator in this list
  • Uses many of the same SEO principles you already use in your online content
  • More focussed on discoverability rather than current affairs so it’s more likely to surface relevant content from a publisher the reader isn’t familiar with


  • Some have argued that evergreen content doesn’t get surfaced as much as they would expect
  • Similarly to Google News, there’s a lack of audience retention tools for publishers on Google Discover
Google Discover news feed

SmartNews is a Japan-based news aggregator that launched its English version in 2014. Since then, it’s been steadily growing with over 50 million readers worldwide. But what sets SmartNews apart is its editorial philosophy. 

With so many polarising stories and perspectives out there, SmartNews provides readers with a more balanced picture of the world by surfacing a range of stories on the same topic, often with differing points of view.

Publishers can use SmartNews to drive traffic directly to their site or they can make use of SmartView; the native content format on SmartNews. It does require publishers to convert content so that it works in SmartView but the benefits include instant load times and an extra revenue stream from ads that are served into SmartView.

Furthermore, it has an offline mode and scheduled notifications. This means SmartNews can deliver content straight to its readers at different times during the day, without needing to open the app so you can catch up on the latest happenings even if you’re on the tube.


  • Provides editorial balance in the way it surfaces content which could benefits publishers who offer fresh perspectives on a story
  • Readers can create a schedule for the app to deliver notifications
  • Offline mode means readers can stayed updated even if you can’t access the internet


  • Some barriers to entry as SmartNews prefers authoritative sources of news
  • Content needs to be converted if it’s to be eligible for SmartView; the native content format on SmartNews

Upday is the native news aggregator app you get on Samsung devices. This has helped it reach 25 million readers which might be the smallest readership on this list but it’s nothing to sniff at.

It works in a similar way to Apple News with algorithms and selectable topics but it’s much easier for less established publishers to gain access to the platform. Furthermore, it directs traffic straight to your site thus allowing you to make use of your own conversion and retention tools.


  • Takes readers straight to your site
  • Comes pre-loaded on all Samsung devices


  • Readership is still growing so it’s not the largest of this list

If your publication has more of a local news and weather slant, you may want to consider NewsBreak as they focus on updating their 50 million readers with location-based current affairs.

Readers can still choose to follow certain topics or their favourite publication like on other apps. But you can take things further and even filter for specific keywords such as “pies” or “dogs” thus giving users the power to really customise their feed.

They display articles natively on their app so a bit of work is required to convert content and get them optimised on NewsBreak. This means they can serve ads within the content which you can then earn an additional revenue stream from.


  • Content is highly targeted by location which benefits local news publications
  • Publishers can generate revenue on the platform
  • Has its own analytics platform


  • Readership isn’t as big as some of the others on this list but it’s still growing

This is just a small list of ever-changing news aggregators and their usage has been climbing year-on-year. If you want to learn more about news apps and how you could be leveraged for your publication, have a chat with us at Press Publish.

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