Digital Editions: Still Relevant to Your Content Marketing Strategy? Part II.

July 26, 2013

Last week, we talked about digital editions in the context of a content marketing strategy, and what purposes they serve.  This week let’s talk about what publishers are doing with their digital editions.

Optimize for Mobile, Design for Digital.

This is particularly relevant if you are launching an app (see below for more on that). You always want to keep your focus on audience engagement, in order to increase advertising and other revenue streams.

Nxtbook marketing director, Marcus Grimm drives the point home: advertising click through rates jump from 5.1 percent on non-optimized editions to 15.3 percent on optimized editions.

Four factors produce the best results:

1)    At this point, people are trained to click on links. It’s become more intuitive, so embrace that behavior.

2)    Think interactive vs. dynamic. Create an experience that engages, not overloads the reader. Too much action and clutter can create an adverse reaction, so think about one or two actions that are reasonable in the smaller, mobile interface and make them easy to find.

3)    Remember that your ad spaces in print don’t necessarily work online. Chances are your most valuable ad spaces aren’t anything like their print counterparts.

4)    Stay updated. If you look at Conde Nast’s editions updated for tablet, you get a stunning visual of what you can do when you stay on top of the technology. They were the first to update for the tablet’s retina display (and also the first to push for digital editions) starting with Vogue, then Wired, GQ, Brides, Condé Nast Traveler, Golf Digest, Glamour, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, Allure, Self and Bon Appétit.

Use Your Analytics to Expand Your Audience (and Advertising).

That is just what Mike Goldsmith of Future PLC and Conde Nast are doing:

“By looking at analytics publishers can find out where these (new) audiences are, and there may even be "surprises" (in terms of highlighting demand, and therefore opportunities, from new places),” says Goldsmith.

Future, UK publisher of titles ranging from Gizmodo to Fast Car to Simply Knitting, with an audience of 51 million worldwide, reports more than five million digital editions sold, worth $1.2 million in gross monthly revenue—and 90% of their products are read by people new to the brand.

Future is also a great example of how digital editions can expand your audience overseas. 75% of their sales are not in the UK, and they recently launched a digital edition of Lens, a photography publication, directed towards their US audience.

Conde Nast has also used analytics to offer metrics to advertisers—in order to provide transparency and further help advertisers track ROI.

Consider An App.

We’ve talked about his before, but that doesn’t mean it is something you shouldn’t revisit from time to time. Jeff Litvack puts it in these terms,

“In general, the average reader of an app comes back more frequently and looks at more pages per session than that of a mobile website. Apps ultimately are for your most loyal readers. After all, think about what an app is: It’s a piece of your reader’s smartphone real estate, available to launch at the touch of an icon. Apps have lower reach in general than the mobile web, but higher frequency of use and deeper levels of engagement.”

He cites several primary benefits for b-to-b publishers including push notification, exposure to the playful Apple audience, faster page loads, direct social integrations and offline reading.

But, you don’t have to blaze this trail. Big publishers are doing it for you. The New Yorker has a popular app with features like a clickable Table of Contents, multimedia extras and a distinctly New Yorker Department of Explanation to help readers navigate the app.

Esquire created a unique app that builds on its digital edition by allowing consumers to interact virtually with the publication’s columnists using video and voice recognition. Since December of 2012, each issue has been completely interactive and shareable. 

But they’ve also taken digital editions further:

Experiment with Frequency.

Last May, Esquire launched weekly digital editions of their monthly magazine. They identified two distinct digital audiences, their monthly subscribers and .com readers who arrived mostly through social channels and search. They wanted to bridge the gap between those audiences, with the goal of retaining more readers and attracting new subscribers.

 As you can see, digital editions can work as one piece your web-first, multi-channel delivery strategy. They provide publishers with numerous opportunities to engage differently and more deeply with their audiences, but pro-activity and creativity are the name of the game. You likely possess those qualities in spades so let’s see what you can do with your digital edition.