Guest Column: Total Immersion
"Immersive content" is not just a catchy phrase. Reader engagement levels in tablet magazine apps are proving that quality content has the power to draw readers in, hold their interest and motivate them to pay for app subscriptions. For many publishers this has been a welcome, even business-saving revelation. But the opportunity is far bigger than is currently being exploited. Publishers and advertisers need to work together to fully understand and take advantage of all their options for driving engagement and revenue on the tablet.
The recent MPA Magazine FactBook offers editors and advertisers excellent news on readers' engagement with tablet magazines. Dwell times and interactions are high. The median time spent reading digital magazines, for example, is two hours in a typical week, and 86 percent of readers access the same issue multiple times. Meanwhile, more than two-thirds of readers say they want to be able to purchase products and services directly through their electronic magazines, and 73 percent read or tap on adverts appearing in digital publications. Plus, even conservative estimates put the number of tablets by the end of 2013 in the hundreds of millions—that is a giant new market.
Compared to print, Web, outdoor—even TV—these are amazing numbers. Readers want to engage, they want to purchase, and they want us to make it easy to do so. Defaulting to a print-based model in which ads are included in basic replica form with no additional enhancement or revenue is no more of a solution than reverting to the infinite inventory and low clickthrough rates of Web.
Digital publishing has the potential to evolve along a different route—to steer clear of the commoditization of Web and the static, unmeasurable nature of print. Advanced digital publishing platforms like Mag+ offer the opportunity for our editors and creatives to deliver a fully immersive reading experience. They also deliver the borderless canvasses, multimedia content and interactivity that bring brand stories to life. And they give us the unique tracking capabilities to prove just how engaging our content and advertising really is.