Going Beyond QR Codes: Interact, Ad Age’s New Companion App
Roger Matus at Nellymoser got in touch with me a few days ago to fill me in on the new companion app the company had developed for Ad Age magazine.
Ad Age has just announced a significant new re-design, and Interact, their branded companion app, is part of it.
There are a lot of things I like about the entire concept behind the app. I love it when a publisher includes its digital presence, right down through mobile, as part of an overall redesign. That’s the way it ought to be, of course—mobile should always be included as part of any initiative to update a look and a brand; and often it is. But this update goes way beyond just the design and look and feel of the publication; it reaches into the realm of reader preferences and through that to reader ways in which the readers actually use the product.
Ad Age, we are told in its press release, has discovered that their readers look for easier and more immediate ways to share content with their colleagues and friends, and Interact is designed to empower them to do so. It is the first app designed specifically to share articles that appear in print just by scanning; and it might also be the first that includes sharing on LinkedIn as well as through Facebook, Twitter and email.
The app makes it easy by including a built in scanner, allowing readers to scan all sorts of images—QR codes, UPC’s, and of course their own branded icons with imperceptible watermarks. This lets readers scan printed articles via the branded Ad Age icons and instantly post them to their social media sites.
An old friend and colleague at the American Physical Society asked me, not long ago, how publishers are handling clipping digitally. I’ve discussed this issue with a number of publishers. Some are reluctant to allow that kind of digital sharing across devices, concerned as they are with the delineation between free and paid content. From a consumer point of view Ken found that disappointing, and has allowed several trial subscriptions to expire as a result.
It feels, therefore, forward-looking of Ad Age to weave this level of content sharing into the very fabric of its re-design.
Hats off, then, to Ad Age: for creating an app based on reader preference and use; for including mobile both visually and strategically in its re-design; and for adapting its print publication to take advantage of the evolving opportunities offered by mobile publishing.
Linda Ruth, as president of PSCS Consulting (www.PSCSConsulting.com), offers communication companies worldwide the keys to magazine launches, search engine optimization and audience development online and at retail. She is a pioneer in the fields of Online Audience Optimization (OAO) and gamification for content publishers. Her books, "Internet Marketing for Magazine Publishers" ; "How to Market your Newsstand Magazine"; and "Secrets of SEO for Publishers" can be found on Amazon. Find her online at Google Plus, Magazine Dojo, LinkedIn, and Twitter @Linda_Ruth.