By Teresa Demel
Yesterday, leaders in the digital publication of magazines and newspapers converged at 82 Mercer in New York City to share successes, best practices, and challenges with their peers. Adobe shared some metrics on digital publishing, announced the launch of the Digital Publishing Awards, and then opened the stage so our customers could share their stories with the audience.
Declan Moore, National Geographic
Our customers, including independent and global publishers, discussed marketing, advertising, analytics, and content strategies with one another. While the conversation was varied and broad, I noticed a few key takeaways:
- Successes: It is obvious that publishers are seeing many forms of success in mobile publishing. At the same time, the industry is in its nascent stages. The victories that publishers are experiencing are hints at what is to come.
- Marketing: DPS has provided a framework to help publishers drive in-app marketing, and publishers are using the tools in varied and creative ways to drive readership.
- Advertising: Because interactive advertising in DPS publications is still young, publishers are defining the pricing model and how it differentiates from other types of ad placement.
- Analytics: Now flooded with data about their publications, each publisher needs to carefully select the metrics about the publication that reflect its goals
Digital Publishing: Defining Success
Our publishers shared their successes along many metrics: revenue, readership, retention, and cost savings.
- Top Gear readers spend more time reading the interactive DPS publication than they did with the PDF replica.
- National Geographic sees a higher renewal rate (74% – 78%) and a younger demographic in digital than in print, indicating a growing audience from its digital offerings.
- Martha Stewart also has a younger audience, and it is also more affluent and more satisfied with the platform.
- Interweave Publishing is able to publish Sockupied, its digital-only publication for a mere $7,000 per issue, providing lucrative margins in digital.
Marketing Techniques: Driving Digital Readership
Several publishers shared techniques and opportunities for pulling more readers through the purchasing funnel. They are gaining new readers with teaser content using First Issue Free and Free Article Preview. They use the custom storefront to promote content to new readers. For example, Martha Stewart not only promotes issues of the downloaded title, but also uses the custom storefront to promote other MSLO titles and Martha Stewart apps, such as Martha Stewart CraftStudio.
While gaining new readership is important, several publishers stressed the importance of retaining existing readers. According to National Geographic’s Declan Moore and Hearst’s Sharon Bailey Romano, today’s readers expect to see new content constantly streamed into the app, rather than a monthly cadence. Romano reminded publishers to inform subscribers about next month’s issue to entice them to return. In addition, existing readers love back issues of content.
Advertising: What is Next?
The brands and advertisers that have experimented with interactive ads in digital publications have proven that they can reach new creative heights and captivate readers.
- Adobe VP of Digital Media Danny Winokur showed ads that I have featured in the ad of the week video series, including Jaguar, REI, and Levi’s Made & Crafted. Each ad allows readers to play with the ad, learn about the product, and shop.
- Wolters Kluwer medical journals allow medical companies to tell a richer story through advertising. In Chantal Kolber’s example, an ad for multiple sclerosis therapy included a before and after video of a woman who had undergone treatment – illustrating the effectiveness of the drug through a compelling story.
In the Advertising panel, Bullett Magazine’s Jack Becht argued that DPS ads are playing in a new space – differentiated from print and online ads. They can easily function as a digital storefront that allows readers to shop, as in the Levi’s Made & Crafted ad.
While publishers are happy to embrace digital advertisements, the pricing models are still being defined.
- Wired charges extra fees based on levels of interactivity.
- Bullett only accepts interactive advertising in its publication, and the Bullett team operates as a creative studio for brands.
- Wolters Kluwer bundles all print and digital advertising, and charges more for the standard advertising package.
Analytics: The Data that Matters
As Sean Bumgarner, Design Director for Platforms and Devices at Condé Nast stated, “We have troves of data. The question for editors is what do you want to know, and how do you measure success?” Condé Nast has discovered through its Site Catalyst account that analytics can be used to understand reader behavior and define content and layout strategy. They learned that readers read a publication from front to back, and that audience accumulation closely mirrors print. This indicates that the way readers experience DPS publications is more similar to the print experience, rather than the online experience.
Regarding content strategy, Golf Digest uses analytics to identify the most popular content and focus its strategy on that content. The “Swing Series” in Golf Digest uses the image sequence feature in DPS to allow readers to view and control a professional golfer’s swing. When Golf Digest realized the popularity of this feature, the publisher spent more time focusing on and highlighting the feature.
This stimulating conversation shows that publishers are thinking creatively about how to use DPS to maintain a progressive business. While there are still debates about advertising rates, measurement tools, and best practices in marketing, all of our customers agreed that it is important to be active in the mobile space to stay on the cutting edge of publishing.
Stay tuned! We will post videos of the Digital Publishing Summit over the next few weeks. In addition, you will soon be able to download the Digital Publishing Summit app from the iTunes store.