Digital publishing has disrupted the traditional publishing industry, and magazine publishers are looking to use new technology to reduce costs and increase margins associated with producing and distributing publications. Magazine apps support both the sales of digital edition and distribution of content via feeds, making them a winning solution for meeting the changing demands of digital audiences.
However, knowing that developing a mobile app is your ticket to being competitive is different than actually getting the approval to go mobile. To get buy-in from stakeholder it's important to have strong arguments that showcase magazine app benefits and justify spending.
Here are 5 key benefits to present to your publication's decision makers and arguments for earning support for your digital publishing initiative:
Magazine apps reach a growing mobile audience
It's no secret that we are living in a mobile world - 62% of the time we spend consuming digital media is on a smartphone or tablet, while 54% of the time is via mobile apps. While many of us consume media across many platforms, including print and desktop, a growing number of people are "mobile-only", presenting new challenges to publishers not just in digital distribution, but in content and user experience.
While many publishers have optimized their web presence to increase mobile traffic and engagement, digital savvy magazine readers demand more, requiring publishers to think beyond the mobile web browser. That's where apps can fill the gap.
Apps help publishers meet the demands of different segments of magazine readers while making the most of being on people's smartphones - the single most important access point into the lives of the modern consumer! By occupying real estate on a person's phone, magazine apps increase your title's visibility, get your digital editions into the hands mobile readers when and where they want it and allow you to integrate live content feeds that are tailored to the mobile experience and match the media consumption patterns of digital audiences.
Digital magazines increase circulation revenue
Circulation revenue has been on the decline in recent years, with print circulation and newsstand sales withstanding the biggest declines. However, according to PwC's latest global outlook report, consumer magazine circulation revenue is finally predicted to grow in 2016, thanks in major part to strong digital performance.
As digital covers losses from print, it's predicted to account for up to 11% of total circulation next year. Leading the trend, Rolling Stone magazine which has reported 30% of their newsstand sales as digital, while 8% of subscribers of The New Yorker are digital.
Since subscriptions make up more that 90% of circulation revenues for most news and consumer magazines, it's clear that up-selling digital access can increase margins. With magazine apps there are two ways to sell digital subscriptions. The first way is by bundling digital access with other services in your subscription offers, while the second is to sell subscription via in-app purchases directly from your app. Single issues can also be purchased via your app, helping you acquire new mobile magazine readers who you can eventually convert into subscribers (more on this point later!)
For more on circulation-based revenues check out our blog post "3 ways to monetize your digital magazine"
They also open up new monetization opportunities
According to the PPA, the more digital a consumer is, the less they spend on magazine content, highlighting the fact that publishers must leverage more non-content revenues from their digital customers. With that in mind, magazine apps give publishers the opportunity to open new monetization opportunities, namely via digital advertising and eCommerce.
By 2019, global digital consumer magazine advertising will grow from $6.43 billion in 2014 to $13.56 billion in 2019, according to PwC, and a magazine app can help you take a slice of that pie.
Magazine publishers can create more attractive packages for advertisers that include ads or sponsored content in their digital edition as well as in live content feeds. Publishers can also take advantage of the growing mCommerce trend by including shoppable links in editorial or sponsored content that links to a mobile-optimized commerce site, giving readers added value and generating revenue as part of an affiliate program.
Apps help publishers implement a content strategy
While it seems that more brands are becoming publishers, publishers too are becoming more of brand marketers as they develop content to amplify and optimize the magazines, articles and stories they produce. Publishers have started to analyse their audience, develop and re-purpose content with different digital platforms, including social media sites, web properties and newsletters, and measure the effects of content - a big leap from the days of "print it and forget it". One of the biggest content trends has been the adoption of video, especially by news magazines, to amplify stories and match the preferences of a more mobile audience.
Mobile apps, much like websites, give you a place to distribute and measure they success of content, while tailoring it to specific magazine reader segments on mobile. With magazine apps, you can take this a step further by providing exclusive subscriber-only content geared to specific subgroups or topics, like video, audio or image galleries, accessible directly on users smartphones. With apps you can also facilitate the creation of community around content by using real time feeds, integrating with social media apps and collecting user generated content for a more engaging user experience.
Magazine apps improve measurement & engagement
In a print only world, you never know how many people have read your article or viewed an ad. However, that's all changed with digital, as real-time tracking can give you metrics on how users are interacting with digital content. With increased consumer intelligence, you can optimize your editorial content and monetization strategies, and use demographic profiles to acquire new users that match an ideal persona.
With mobile app publishing, you can also engage your audience anywhere and everywhere, directly on their device. Push notifications allow you to reach users outside your app, providing them with timely, relevant information that will make them want to launch your app, read your latest issue or article, take part in a conversation or even buy a subscription. For example, you can set up push campaigns to convert users who have only purchased a single issue to become a subscriber.
Bonus: Transformation can be easy and cost-effective
One of biggest roadblocks with digital transformation can be allocating budget and implementing new technology that integrates with legacy systems However, new DIY publishing software providers have revolutionized how publishers create, distribute, monetize and measure digital magazines. Paperlit - our full-stack publishing solution - let's publishers create digital replicas by uploading a .PDF or .folio file, add interactive media and build a branded storefront app for iOS and Android.
As digital editions increasingly contribute to overall circulation and advertising revenues, magazine apps will help publishers get closer to mobile audiences, deliver engaging content and measure results. Weighing the benefits against the relative low-cost and ease of development will surely help you get to "yes" on your mobile proposal. For more information on the costs of Paperlit's digital publishing solution, simply request a demo!