Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

Condé Nast Shares iPad Magazine Lessons

Posted by Tom Foremski - October 12, 2010

Condé Nast reports that readers of iPad versions of its magazines spend more time with the electronic version than the print version.

Also, iPad readers are not typical early tech adopters.

Scott McDonald, SVP market research, Condé Nast said: "Many iPad users surveyed were not the typical tech 'early adopter' or familiar with Apple products and their navigation conventions. This has very important implications for application interface design."

Other findings:

- Specific to Condé Nast digital magazines, eight in ten reported that the content and experience associated with the brands met or surpassed their expectations.

- 83% reported a likelihood to purchase the next month's digital issue.

- 89% felt the apps were easy to use and, on the whole, users showed little sensitivity to download times.

- users preferred to read the magazines in portrait mode, but chose to watch video in the landscape orientation.


- There was also an expectation for flexibility in buying options, e.g., a single copy purchase, a digital subscription or supplement to their print subscription.

- The study showed that readers expected to find ads in digital magazines and expressed that their inclusion was an enhancement to the experience, which is often the case with printed magazines.


Condé Nast's five best practices for creating advertising that will engage and resonate with the user:

1. Take advantage of This New Medium's functionality: Users responded positively to the additional functionality of the iPad. Therefore advertisers that included compelling and unique experiences, that were self contained and exclusive to the environment, were liked more than those that did not. Increased opportunities for engagement including video, photo galleries and links to websites are recommended.

2. Provide Clear Instructions on How to Engage with Your App: As many surveyed were not familiar with iPad navigation, ads that included clear calls to action and cues on how to engage the creative were more effective. Icons should be clearly visible and intuitive and state whether more content or additional functionality can be found.

3. Supply Additional Information but Avoid Repurposing Creative Assets Used for Other Media: Users enjoyed advertisements that provided something new and useful. Including detailed product info and how-to's are recommended, however re-purposing video or creative used for other mediums is not suggested.

4. Tell A Story: The most remembered ads contained narratives. The iPad's ability to showcase various forms of media offers a unique opportunity for telling a brand's story. However, it was discovered that users became bored when the same advertisement was used repeatedly throughout a single application.

5. Lead Them Down the Purchase Funnel: Brands that enabled a user to directly access and purchase the featured product faired better than companies who offered homepage links alone. It is also recommended that due to compatibility issues, Flash not be used.

The survey was based on 100 hours of one-on-one interviews and 5,000 in app surveys. Magazines in the study were GQ, Vanity Fair, Wired and Glamour.


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