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Magazines Get Creative With Mobile

Treena Colby
Wednesday, Nov 16, 2011 at 10:00 AM

We have seen a proliferation of magazines that are using Microsoft Tags in many creative ways, and we have showcased many success stories on our website, Twitter and Facebook. Even with their many uses, three fundamentals of successful Tag implementation are behind many of the triumphs.


Custom Tags


One of the strengths of Microsoft Tag is the ability to create custom 2D barcodes, allowing for engaging, unique and consistent branding.


Staying true to all things good (as Martha likes to say) as well as beautiful and creative, Martha Stewart Weddings used Tags again for their second “Scan to Win” contest after winning The Most Creative Use of New Technology at Min’s Integrated Marketing Awards. For year two, each one of the 17 advertisers involved in the contest had a customized Tag in the magazine, which linked to the mobile web pages of the participating sponsor. And true to Martha form, the magazine used a two-page spread explaining the contest, more custom Tags and a clear call to action.


Good Call to Action


Speaking of a good call to action, make sure all of your hard work gets you the results you are looking for. You have created your custom Tag, have your online content linked and ready, and are putting the finishing touches on your ad. Now, tell potential customers what you want them to do! You may know the ins and outs of your campaign, but the reader may just be entering into the foray of 2D barcode technology or seeing your publication for the first time. Tell readers how to get the Tag app, how to participate in your campaign and what they will receive in doing so. Make it easy and simple for them to get involved.


call to action image

A great example of a good call to action is what Allure did for their August issue. The magazine used Tags and told readers how to participate in their Free Stuff Giveaway. The magazine saw entries increase by 38% with more than 444,500 Tag scans. That is a lesson that paid off.


Mobile Optimized Experience


Since scanners will be using their mobile devices, it only makes sense that your Tag destination be optimized for the mobile environment. Remember that users will be viewing content on a small screen and they have a very low tolerance for a bad user experience. Make sure that when you have someone interested enough to scan your Tag that the rest of the experience is as easy as the first step. If not, you may have lost a potential customer for good.


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Sports Illustrated linked their 2011 Swimsuit Issue with online content seamlessly and created a captivating mobile campaign. Tags were used throughout the issue, as well as advertised on buses, subway posters and signage, all linking to:


  • Photos and videos of models
  • A voting site for their favorite swimsuit model
  • Behind the scenes videos that could easily shared with Facebook, Twitter or email
  • The new Swimsuit Mobile App, where users could easily download

Now, try to imagine if smartphone users scanned any one of these Tags and were brought to a site that was not optimized for mobile phones. They just wouldn’t get the whole picture, and I am pretty sure they want the whole picture.


What other ways can mobile make magazines more engaging? Let us know with your comments below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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