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The Effect of Mobile on Publishing

Andrew Kaplan
Monday, Nov 14, 2011 at 12:00 PM

The ability to go mobile and take a digital newspaper or magazine with you wherever you go, or read it comfortably while sitting on your sofa, has opened up amazing new opportunities for publishers.


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In fact, a just-released survey has found that magazines and newspapers in the U.S. and Canada are becoming more confident in their strategic mobile plans as they diversify their offerings and discover new ways to derive revenue.


Publishers Go Mobile


The survey from the Audit Bureau of Circulations and ABC Interactive, “Going Mobile: How Publishers Are Maturing and Monetizing Their Offerings,” found the number of publishers who say they have a well-developed plan for the mobile market rose to 59%, up from just 28% in 2009.


“This year’s survey results show the great strides publishers have made during the last two years and how they are preparing for a future where smartphones and tablets are a ubiquitous part of everyday life,” said Neal Lulofs, executive vice president and general manager, ABC Interactive.


In fact, the survey found 85% of respondents said they currently have mobile content for smartphones, e-readers or tablet devices, up from 76% last year. Newspapers (88%) were most likely to have mobile initiatives in place, followed closely by consumer magazines (83%) and business publications (79%).


Publishers in the U.S. and Canada are also investing in optimized mobile websites. Eighty-one percent of U.S. publishers and 65% of Canadian publishers said this was an important part of their strategic plans. Respondents said mobile websites often account for up to 15% of their overall website impressions.


Despite all this progress, publishers are still faced with a large number of older readers who are just not comfortable reading on mobile devices or computers. After all, many of these consumers have been reading print publications their whole lives and just may not be ready, or see any need, to make the switch to digital.


Going Mobile With Tag


Some publishers have found a solution to this problem using Tag. By the strategic use of Tags in their print publications, publishers are able to incentivize their readers to try out their digital offerings, or just foster a closer, more interactive relationship with them.


An excellent example is personal finance magazine Kiplinger, which is using Tag to drive users to its mobile site, rich in features and content. At the site, subscribers can easily log in to their accounts and interested parties can also sign up for free E-Alerts from a drop down link at the top of the mobile site. There is also an easy option to subscribe from the drop down menu.


Other publishers are using Tag to supplement their print offerings with extra digital content. For example, publications from Time Inc. partnered with advertiser Crisco Oil to use Tags in Crisco ads that resolve to short recipe videos of Chef Billy in action. Chef Billy shows the best uses for the oil, how to easily prepare the recipe and gives other tips and tricks.


Women’s Day also made a lot of use of Tag in its September issue, which it promoted as an Interactive Issue. First, Women’s Day created a custom Tag with an autumn-colored leaf to go with the theme. It is also featuring 20 Tags in different editorial and advertising pages throughout the magazine. Tag scanners were able to enter to win items such as gift cards, jewelry, skincare products, pizza party packs and all sorts of goodie bags. On the editorial pages, readers could scan and enter to win prizes such as a laptop, handbag and perfume. Also, Tag scanners were entered to win $1,000 simply by scanning any three Tags in the magazine. And of course each time someone entered to win one of the many prizes, they were also able choose to receive more information from the advertiser and receive future Women’s Day news and promotions.


And lastly, Martha Stewart Weddings partnered with Tag for its “Scan to Win” contest.  Seventeen of the ads in the Fall 2011 issue included customized Tags that resolved to the mobile web pages of the participating sponsors. With each unique scan readers were entered to win a prize, including the top prize of $1,000.


These are just some of the pioneering uses of Tag by publishers in this newly emerging mobile digital world. And with such a versatile, consumer-friendly technology, there will certainly be a lot more to come.


What ways do you think digital and mobile are affecting publishing? Let us know with your comments below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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