Dragons App connects fans
BY MARIE VEILLETTE
The newly released Dragons App is doing well after only a little over a week of being released.
On Jan. 31, the app was available for download from both the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store. One week later, 515 people had installed the app, with the number growing every day, according to Jon Wepking, assistant athletic director for marketing and production.
So far the app is most popular with iPhone users, claiming over half of the total installations. The app has also had positive side effects for the Dragon athletics’ website, boosting total page visits to 2,000 in just one week. The app itself has been used about 3,000 times by its downloaders, meaning in one week a person who downloaded the app used it an average of almost six times.
The nearly daily use of the app by its users makes sense. The app “makes it easy for fans to get everything they could ever want from Dragon athletics,” Wepking said. “It has all the bases covered with new releases, Twitter feeds and YouTube videos.”
However, Wepking’s favorite parts of the app are the LiveAlbum and live coverage features. LiveAlbum allows everyone who has downloaded the app to share photos with all the other app users.
There are many ways to access the live coverage options. There is a “signing day” button that allows fans to “follow the signees as they came in,” Wepking said. He also added that the app has buttons that connect users to live video, audio and statistics, not only for the Dragons, but also for the other teams in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.
The app also coordinates with the University’s virtual tour application, allowing users to navigate the campus with the app.
Though the main goal of creating the app was to make it easier for fans to access all the information they could possibly want about Dragon athletics, the athletics department has a goal of being “the leader of D II in technology and to continually strive to be cutting edge in everything we do,” Wepking said. He is confident that the Dragons App is not only the best one in the division, but also in the nation as well.
Wepking would know, as he is the designer of the app. Using a free app creating software called Conduit Mobile, he researched other apps to figure out what the best and most popular features were.
“We looked at apps of all levels to find out what features were most popular, and then looked at our web analytics to show how the best connect with those who already follow us online,” Wepking explained.
The idea of creating an app like this has been considered for a while, Wepking said, but once the software to create it was found, the process went fast. The app was created and submitted to the market in a week.
The process to get the app available for download on both the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store was “a waiting game” according to Wepking. He said the Google Play Store accepted the app quickly, but the Apple App Store “has a more rigorous submission process.”
Once the app was available for download, the promotion process began. iPhone button dots with QR codes linked to downloading the app were given out at a home game when the app was initially released. There are also posters across campus encouraging students to download the app. The new Dragons App was advertised digitally with web ads, promotions on social media and television commercials. Emails were sent out announcing the app in Dragon Digest, student news and in the athletics newsletter. The app is also being integrated into the Pic of the Game contests at sporting events on campus.
Students in dorms should expect to see a flyer explaining more about the Dragons App in their mailboxes soon.
Anyone interested in downloading the app can go to the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store and search “MSUM” to find and download the app.