Just three years after the launch of the iPad, mobile publishing is changing rapidly. Not only how we consume content, but the devices we use to interact with our favourite publications – . Here’s what we can expect in 2014….
Three years after Steve Jobs introduced the iPad, it’s clear that we’re looking at a new paradigm of digital publishing: content designed for and delivered through apps on touchscreen devices just isn’t the same as the web or print. Content owners everywhere – from traditional publishers to retail brands – have to recalibrate how they think about distributing content in this new space, because what users want and expect there is different than any other medium.
It isn’t yet entirely clear how everything will shake out. Publishers, advertisers, marketers, businesses and organisations are just now beginning to realise the full potential of the platform. The good news is nobody disputes that mobile touchscreen devices are the future of where you’ll find eyeballs for your content, and that means opportunity for everyone. Here are five areas we see being fundamentally changed by the touchscreen, app-based content ecosystem.
1. ‘Magazines’ will be less and less about paper products
Traditional monthly publishers need to rethink issue content and frequency for these new spaces – the old print and ad imperatives for monthly issues just don’t apply here. For many, that will means splitting their issues into smaller, compartmentalised editions designed for specific devices and delivered on a daily or weekly timeline.
This approach will put different types of content at subscribers’ fingertips in a way that it is most likely to be consumed in any given moment. Think: breaking news via push notifications on the phone, short pieces to be read while waiting for the train, more in-depth content for leisurely weekend read. The effect will be more touch points for the user to the brand, deepening value and brand loyalty. However this isn’t to say that print will completely die, you still can’t beat the smell of a freshly printed magazine and the feel of a glossy page that shows off the detail in a well taken photo.
Many publishers are finding that their print subscribers are very different from their digital customer base, for example a new digital subscriber who’s never been a print customer, is 36% more likely to renew a monthly subscription for 6+ months, compared to a new print based subscriber. Is this because they can do it all with the click of a button? Automatic renewal’s on your debit card? There are many theories and as 2014 unfolds, we are sure it will become even clearer with most publishers offering both options to their customers.
2. The long read will make a comeback
The success of the Kindle and iBooks apps, not to mention sites like Long Reads and Atavist, are proving that people will read on screen. While print and web based publishing focuses increasingly on ‘bite-sized’ news and features, apps will allow publishers both to design long-form stories for easy consumption on phones and tablets, and to enable offline usage and smart bookmarking.
Our clients are already seeing increased reading times on a dedicated application vs a responsive paywall page, so why is this happening? We believe that if you take take the time to install your content as an application on your device, then you are probably more dedicated to the publication than stumbling upon a freemium piece of content that you need to pay to view in full detail. It’s an interesting trend, some agencies would argue that applications are no longer essential to success if you can offer a responsive web page version that requires no installation or downloading to view the content. We believe the key to your success is looking closely at the analytics across all your mediums, then having a centralised hub that distributes the content giving the user a choice on how they wish to view the articles and content.
3. Travel magazines will become utilities
Tablet versions of travel magazines will tie back into booking websites with sponsored ‘Book This Trip Now’ options. This will mean pre-packaged deals for customers who want all-inclusive amenities listed as is within the corresponding article. Add to that location-based recommendation services and tie-ins with third-party services like Yelp & LiveBookings, and your travel magazine will become an invaluable travel companion. And then once you’re aboard the plane…
4. In-flight magazines will go digital
With the FAA lifting the ban on device usage, major carriers will be increasingly able to promote their in-flight titles from the gate for download and consumption before, during and after the flight, delivering fresh content based on location, user status or other factors, making the content more personal and more valuable. Virgin Atlantic , United Airlines and American Airlines already have iPad versions of their in-flight publications for tablets. And just imagine a ‘Buy Now’ version of the duty-free shopping catalogue delivered to your seat.
5. Fashion retail and publishing will be more intertwined
Real-time updating combined with subscription delivery will allow fashion ‘look books’ for major retailers to be more responsive and better at distributing hot sales trends between brick-and-mortar retail outlets. Now days you can order clothing via a mobile application and if your not sure of the right size, order two and simply return the items that don’t fit using the companies free return postage bag and a local postbox.
A new concept in the UK was rolled out by JustFab, a female clothing and handbag specialist that charges a flat rate per month to receive a pair of shoes or item of clothing, if you’re not happy with it, send it back for something else at no cost at all. The concept of shopping for clothing online got off to a shaky start, but these days most clothing chains allow online purchases and local brick and mortar refunds and exchanges with no questions asked. The seamless buying cycles that are now on offer make it very easy to find exactly what you’re looking for at the click of a button.
So next time your reading a fashion magazine on a tablet, try to think at what point are you really just browsing a well designed e-commerce store ready to serve you a range specifically tailored to your liking.
For a small taste of the future, check out the InWear Trade Tool Fashion App in action in the video below.