Tablet computers and e-readers have been garnering mainstream attention over the course of the last few years, and many users are gravitating towards these devices. Apple has sold over 100 million iPads since first launching them two years ago and an Android tablet is activated almost every minute. Advertisers are keen to adapt to this new digital trend with something other than evasive adverts that permeate the internet. The magazine industry is trying to adopt standards for advertising and capturing big data in order to attract advertising dollars. A recent report by the Custom Content Council and ContentWise found that 39% of marketing budgets accounted for digital advertising. This 12% increase from 2011 certainly is a sign of the times. Still, digital advertising in general is thought to only be 3% of the industry magazine industry.
The Association of Magazine Media and the Alliance for Audited Media is making in-roads to adopt a series of standardizations for capturing user metrics via Big Data and to implement a series of steps to attract advertisers.
In order to facilitate a better road-map for digital publishers to produce more big data, the MPA has formed a new relationship with five analytics companies, including Google and Adobe, to take previously incomparable tablet reader data and present it in an easy to read fashion. “Our average publisher is seeing 85% growth in readership in the past six months,” said Lynly Schambers-Lenox, marketing manager of Adobe’s digital publishing suite of software. “We think the proliferation of devices is driving that increase.”
The industry’s major publishers such as Hearst and Conde Nast will be participating in a new pilot, which is poised to start in October. This will begin the process of using the same streamlined process with the same analytics tools. If the pilot goes well, the next step would be to find a third party to audit the data, a challenge unto itself as a research firm would be betting big that the time and resources required to develop a new tool would pay off. The Alliance for Audited Media would like the job, but it’s unclear MPA wants to go in that direction.
There are many conundrums when it comes to standardizing digital magazine usage for the end-users. If you look at the physical download, do you capture the information when it was initiated or when it has been completed? What do you do if someone buys a magazine but doesn’t open it for two weeks? What is the cutoff point? Publishers are facing these challenges in presenting a unified strategy and and appeal to advertisers.
When it comes to the traditional print industry, it is obviously waning and companies are seeking advertisers to fill the void of the digital editions. Without a series of guidelines on how you present data to advertisers, you will have many publishers doing their own thing, which makes it very hard to do business. Also, it does not help that publicly, major publishers are not forthcoming about their sales and advertising figures, which makes it hard to track the trends of the industry in North America.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.