Mobile In Magazine Advertising. How Do We Adjust?

Magazine Readership Is Up
Magazine readership was expected to decrease.  However, this was not the case, and a recent advertising campaign was circulated to increase awareness of these stats despite the digital transition (see left).
Instead, magazines are creating relevant, time-sensitive content that is a relieving departure from the 140 character limit of Twitter. It is more important than ever for these magazines to have a voice and a quip that leverages its its differentiator, room to fill the white of the page.
In fact, readership in magazines continues to maintain its readership despite an ever-wafting digital divide. For example, iPad users are highly likely to read magazines they previous subscribed to in the traditional tree form on their tablets instead.
Yet, Magazine Ad Revenue Is Down

However, while readership has sustained, advertising revenue has decreased.  Specifically, “US print ad revenues for magazines fell to $14.7 billion in 2010, down 5% from $15.5 billion in 2009, according to eMarketer. Print ad revenues will sink another 5.6% this year, accounting for $13.9 billion by the end of 2011 (eMarketer Report – US Magazine Print Ad Revenues Fell 5% in 2010).

Advertisers are taking note of the evolving consumer landscape by incorporating mobile components into their advertisements.  Or, in the best cases, are developing advertising platforms designed first for mobile that are then adopted for traditional channels (which echoes Tom Lowry’s thesis argument at Dig Day at Engauge). That is, marketers need ask how we can use mobile to drive brand KPIs online, rather than placing mobile as an extension of the website or desktop experience.  In particular, social networks, apps, mobile gaming need to be the key priority areas of investment and development.
Wired Magazine exemplifies a case study example of a magazine that doesn’t resist the transitioning digital landscape, but embraces it.  Of 60 ads total, in their most recent issue:
  • Nearly one in four ads (14, 23%) had a mobile call-to-action or social interactive integration.
  • The majority of ads with a mobile CTA or social integration (9 of 14; 65% of ads with mobile CTA) had QR codes or a “scan for more” CTA for app download or link to interactive website.
  • Specifics:
    • 46 – no mobile CTA/integration
    • 9 – QR code/scan for app download
    • 1 – text “xyz” for product CTA
    • 1- learn more # hashtag
    • 3 – follow us on a social network
    • 1 – interactive website CTA

As we examine how the consumer reacts to traditional mediums through the lens of digital, do we also examine how agencies once fashioned to produce traditional media need now be adapted to see through the lens of digital as well?  That is, if we expect the campaigns to be designed first with mobile in mind, do we also align the creative development process to design the technology first followed by the creative, instead of the other way around?   I think so.

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