New Flipboard Offering Promises Giant Step For Online Advertising
Flipboard, the RSS reader for the iPad that aggregates content shared through social networks in a magazine-style interface, has taken a major step toward tailoring its product to publishers with the release of a website enhancing product, Flipboard Pages.
Flipboard Pages takes Web content accessed through the app and converts it into a paginated form, allowing for print-style article and ad layouts that the company claims will replicate the high-impact brand advertising of print editions.
"[Whereas] before where you'd be directed to a traditional web page, now publishers can give a more beautiful, branded, differentiated experience that also offers more magazine-like advertising inventory," a company spokesperson told Publishing Executive Inbox.
Flipboard believes the new platform offers an unprecedented way for magazine publishers to design effective online ads.
"The idea of creating an emotional connection with a brand is very powerful, but hard to do in a side-bar competing for the reader's attention," the spokesperson notes. "Instead of using the web-model designed in the 1990's for advertising and content displays, we're testing new ways to bring together online content and brand advertising that gives more space to the stories and allows the advertising to have its own full-page experience."
An HTML5-based framework converts content automatically when Flipboard users double tap article excerpts appearing within the app. Rather than directing users to a regular Web page, as is normally the case, articles from select publishers are presented in full-page formats with magazine-style ad placements.
"We believe that the timeless principles of print can enhance the social media experience, not only to make content more discoverable but also to make it easier to read," Flipboard CEO Mike McCue said in a press release. "Now, working with publishers, we can re-imagine Web pages as magazine articles, connecting readers more deeply with the publisher's brand while opening up entirely new advertising possibilities."
Flipboard has partnered with ABC News, All Things Digital, Bon Appetit, Lonely Planet, SB Nation, SF Chronicle/Gate, Uncrate and The Washington Post Magazine to run selected stories in the new format. The arrangement is characterized by the company as a "free trial where all parties are testing the experience" without financial commitments.
"This is just a test to see how this might work technically and to learn about the experience," the spokesperson says. "There is still lots to do and more to learn about advertising on tablets and the new reading environments they enable." The company intends to make the service available to other content creators but has not indicated a timeline.
Flipboard is working with media communications firm OMD to design advertising for Flipboard Pages. Participating advertisers include OMD clients Pepsi, Gatorade, Infiniti, The CW Television Network, Showtime, Levi's, Dockers, Hilton Worldwide, GE, Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau, Project (RED), Standup2cancer.org and Charity Water. Articles from the Washington Post Magazine will be sponsored by Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams.
In another indication of its intent to work closely with publishers, the company announced yesterday that William R. Hearst III, a director at Hearst Corp. and affiliate partner at venture capital firm (and Flipboard financial backer) KPCB has joined the company as an advisor.