5 Ways Publishers Can Hyper-Target Print Like Digital Marketers

By: D. Eadward Tree


Marketers’ disgust with online ad fraud has created an opening for our industry, but we’re not ready to take advantage of it. Our out-of-date, out-of-synch approaches to magazine advertising proposals are holding us back from taking advantage of this new opportunity.

Judging from my interactions with advertising sales reps, they’re seeing fewer digital-only RFPs these days and more media-agnostic ones. Marketers who were in the “print is dead” camp now seem intrigued with the ability of print to engage their most valuable prospects. But simply buying ad pages in general-interest magazines is not their idea of effective targeting.

In this environment, niche titles are holding up best because their readership provides a natural target for certain advertisers: An archery magazine is obviously a great place for a bow manufacturer to place its ads. (Still, that manufacturer may be shifting more of its dollars to a programmatic campaign targeted to people who have shopped online for crossbows in the last two weeks.)

These days, our magazines are mostly represented by two types of ad reps, neither of whom is equipped to do the job: 1) Print-only veterans who are out of touch with marketers’ ability to identify their prospects -- and the kind of money they’re willing to spend to reach those prospects. Their idea of targeted advertising doesn’t extend beyond old-school demographic sections, such as women’s or affluent editions. 2) Multimedia reps, who are typically hired for their digital chops and have little, if any, print experience.

Here are five scenarios that illustrate what can happen when we take a millennial’s grasp of hyper-targeting, blend it with an old print dinosaur’s tricks, and add a pinch of imagination:

Challenge #1: The audience for your parenting magazine is too broad for a prospective advertiser that’s mostly interested in affluent parents of teens.

Solution: Place sponsored cover wraps on copies mailed to orthodontists’ waiting rooms. Parents with time on their hands will pick up your magazine because it’s relevant to them, and the sponsor will have plenty of space and attention to make its pitch.

Challenge #2: Exhibit sponsors complain that they’re not meeting enough good prospects at your show.

Solution: Customize the exhibit copies or show guides for pre-registered attendees, enabling your exhibitors to include messages that are targeted to people based on job title, employer, or the break-out sessions they have selected. It could be as simple as inkjetted messages on the cover. Or as complex as using variable data with digital printing to produce individualized versions of the conference schedule. Instead of just “1 p.m.: Exhibit floor opens,” a participant might also see, “Jane, stop by the Acme Rocket booth before 4:30 to pick up your free iPad!” and an invitation to a sponsored roundtable discussion to which only purchasing directors are invited.

Challenge #3: A grill manufacturer is intrigued by your foodie magazine but focuses its advertising on people who are “in market” for a grill.

Solution: Use repurposed content from your magazine to create a downloadable “How To Buy a Grill” guide, with plenty of room for the sponsor to tell its story and perhaps to offer embedded videos. Promote it in the magazine, in the midst of grilling recipes on your web site, via social media, etc. (Whoever said “magazine” advertising has to be about print?) Besides the sponsorship revenue, you might pick up some valuable email addresses and first-party data.

Challenge #4: The grill manufacturer isn’t re-upping the how-to guide campaign because it’s shifting more money to point-of-purchase marketing.

Solution: Create a retailers’ toolbox that is sent to stores selling the clients’ grills. Include printed copies of the how-to guide. Three-hole punch a few of the copies and place them in binders, along with extra information and resources for store employees. Throw in some magazine-branded laminated tip sheets, illustrated with photos of your clients’ grills. Include hang tags that highlight awards or favorable reviews your editors have given to any of the clients’ grills.

Your client probably knows better than you what will work and may be in a better position to execute as well. Fine: Just license your content to the client or sell it copies of your how-to guide.

Challenge #5: Several clients are reducing ads in your regional magazine to put more money into reaching new residents. “Your readers are ‘from-heres;’ we need to talk to the ‘come-heres,’” one advertiser tells you.

Solution: Create an evergreen welcome-to-town guide with repurposed content from the magazine, along with ads targeted to new residents. (Plus a subscription offer and a promotion for your web site, of course.) A lead sponsor could get a back-cover ad that is digitally printed, providing a map from the recipient’s house to the sponsor’s nearest retail location.

You can buy new-movers lists that are derived from month-old change-of-address data. Or work a deal with the local electric or water utility and you could get the copies delivered shortly after people move in.

Apple Launches iOS 11 with Redesigned App Store, Deals A Final Blow to Digital Edition Apps

By: D. B. Hebbard


Already gone was the App Store inside iTunes, now Apple has eliminated the subcategories for publisher’s digital edition apps, and put the emphasis on the apps Apple wants to promote, or publishers are willing to pay to have promoted

It would have been hard to make the Apple App Store less useful for media app developers, but somehow, miraculously, Apple found a way to do it with the release of iOS 11.

The App Store has been a mess for a long time now, about four years actually.

To recap: in November 2011, Apple launched the Newsstand, its digital newsstand for publishers. It was an immediate hit with both readers and publishers, and everyone rushed in with an app. App vendors proliferated, many offering publishers a way to get their magazines or newspapers into the App Store for free, so long as they shared revenue with the vendors.

Some started to see a big problem pretty early on: readers who signed up for a monthly subscription, often to get a discount on a single issue, cancelled when given the chance each month when notified by Apple.

Apple, too, saw a problem: they are a multi-billion dollar company, and selling newspapers and magazines is penny-ante stuff. By 2013, Apple had simple quit on their publishing partners, and soon the App Store team stopped maintaining the subcategories — so important to publishers.

Apple did away with the Newsstand a couple of years ago and created the Magazines & Newspapers category. The advantage to publishers was that their subscription apps could now be in whatever category they wanted. The subcategories of Magazines & Newspapers, though, were not fixed and for the past four years, though the Newsstand and now the Magazines & Newspapers category, publishers have seen just how little Apple really cared about them.

Now, today, iOS 11 introduces a brand new App Store… and somehow Eddy Cue found a way to make the App Store worse.

The first thing you will notice with the new store is that it is divided into Today, Games, Apps, Updates and Search. I suppose separating out games from other apps is a good thing, simply a division that makes each section less large.

The Today section is all about Apple and what they want to promote. If you are lucky enough to have an app featured here you will see huge downloads.

In the Apps section, there are the same categories you’ve always seen, including the Magazines & Newspapers category. What about those subcategories, such as Arts & Photography, Automotive, Brides & Weddings, etc.? Well, they are gone. Completely gone. Now, the thousands of digital edition apps are all dumped into the master category. It is as if Barnes & Noble mixed all the magazines in their store randomly on the shelf.

But it is even worse than that.

Now, when the iPad or iPhone user opens up the Magazines & Newspapers category they are presented with a few apps promoted at the top (today it is the WSJ, The New Yorker Magazine and the NYT). Then below is a section called “Apps We Love” a collection of 17 apps selected by Apple. Below that is Top Paid and Top Free.

The only way a system like this could work would be if Apple had improved its search mechanism, so let’s test it out.

A search for “music magazines” gave me Tidal (which is music, but not a magazine) and Mormon Channel (no comment). A second search for “construction magazine” was much better in that it pulled up several familiar titles. It also pulled up the first ad I saw, for Fieldwire, a job-site app. A search for cooking magazines was similar, with familiar magazines found, plus an ad for Hello Fresh.

Did you notice that I did not link to any of the apps? That is because Apple has killed off the URL links for apps. You can search on your Mac or PC browser for, say, ‘New Yorker Magazine AND iTunes’ and the app will show up, but the link that was there to iTunes is now dead. Why? Because iTunes no longer supports apps.

(By the way, if you do not update iTunes the old App Store is still there, including the subcategories inside Magazines & Newspapers.)

So, what does this mean for publishers? It means that creating a digital edition app for Apple’s iOS no longer makes no sense. The platform that for years was the one developers looked to first when developing media apps should now be the last. I’ve completely flipped in favor of Google’s Android as the most important mobile platform for publishers.

Of course, one could still launch standalone iOS apps, but it will be terribly hard to promote them, you can’t link to them any longer, so your reader will have to know exactly what the name is and how to find it.

Many people have believed for a while that the digital edition app is dead, but I have held out hope that they were wrong. But because of the way the new APP Store is designed, launching a new iOS media app into any category will be like throwing a pebble into the sea, then trying to retrieve it.

Other changes effecting publishers:

Apple News in iOS 11 has a new tab called “Spotlight” where Apple selects news stories, picked by the Apple News editorial staff, each day. Readers using the feature will undoubtedly boost the readership of some stories.

Right now, TNM’s traffic through Apple News is like the heart beat of a very old person: peaks followed by long periods of silence. On good days, Apple News readership dwarfs that of the web, but that is because the Morning Brief tends to include political news, that is what Apple promotes. The posts that most TNM readers come to the site to find hardly are ever read through Apple News. No surprise, I suppose, Apple News is terrible for trade publishers.

Safari in iOS 11 places has a new feature that prevents websites from tracking readers across multiple sites. This doesn’t limit the ads, but it does limit the useful data marketers will receive.

“This could be a double edged sword for publishers,” Keith Sibson VP of Product & Marketing at PostUp told TNM. “The change in Safari will make programmatic advertising less effective with those users, and especially impactful to retargeting ads.”

The move is designed to be of benefit to web readers, but it will once again prove how unfriendly Apple is to marketers.

“This could help drive advertisers further into the arms of Google and Facebook, which do not rely as heavily on 3rd party cookies to track users and so will be less affected by this change,” Sibson said. “However, with this change programmatic ad technology firms deliver less value for advertisers, and ad-tech firms have been taking a larger and larger cut of advertising spend. So it could be beneficial to publishers in that advertisers may be more motivated to buy ad inventory directly from publishers, which is far more lucrative for the publisher.”

A few other impressions:

iOS 11 contains some good updates for device owners (if you forget about the new App Store). For instance, one can now view GIFs from within the Photos app, and other changes will be useful, especially for those with newer devices. But, let’s be honest, the Apple rumor sites are really struggling to make a big deal out of the changes in iOS 11, it just isn’t that big a difference.

I loaded iOS 11 onto my iPad mini 2, which will probably be the last time that device gets a major update (I didn’t want to load it on a device I use every day, at least not right away). I found the iPad no more sluggish than it was on iOS 10, which I suppose is a good thing.

Apple, though, better watch out with these updates. More and more, those with iPhones and iPads are choosing to hang on to their devices longer, and there are good reasons for this. First, Apple has raised the price on the newest models; and second, there is simply not a good reason to upgrade one’s device so frequently, the differences between models is getting smaller and smaller.

As far as speed of the update, this one may have been the fastest so far, so those that usually wait a day or two probably can go ahead and install iOS 11. Also, it is still best to do these updates by plugging your device into your Mac or PC and doing it through iTunes — it solves the issue of having a lack of storage space available on your device.

Author: D.B. Hebbard

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In The Age Of Screen Time, Is Paper Dead?

By: Steve Drummond


Paper ... or glass?

Advances in laptops and technology are pushing screens into schools like never before. So what does this drive toward digital classrooms mean for that oldest and simplest of touch screens: a plain old sheet of paper?

It may seem a wasteful and obsolete technology, ready to follow the slate chalkboard and the ditto machine into the Smithsonian, or a flat, white invitation to creativity, just waiting for some learning magic to happen.

And when it comes to learning and retention, is there any difference between reading and writing on an electronic "tablet" or a paper one?

Not surprisingly, the good folks over at the Paper and Packaging Board aren't ready to give up on paper just yet. They've sent me their new report about it, called "Paper and Productive Learning." It's printed on glossy paper and it arrived on my non-digital desktop via non-email, with a stamp and everything.

"Read on," it encourages, "to discover the many ways paper remains essential for productive learning in today's technology-fueled culture."

As you might expect in a report from an organization aimed at promoting paper and packaging, it's pretty full of pro-paper information. "In many ways, paper is still the most important technology for productive learning," it says.

Here are just a few of the fun facts and findings:

  • 96 percent of parents think that paper is "an essential part of children being able to achieve their educational goals."
  • Among junior high and high school students, 70 percent prepare for tests by taking handwritten class notes, and 60 percent make and use flashcards.
  • 50 percent of seventh- and eighth-graders agree they "learn information best if they write it down by hand."
  • College students like paper, too: 81 percent, for example, say they always or often use paper tools to prepare for exams.

So there you go — an (admittedly promotional) plug for good old paper. It's also a reminder of how pervasive paper remains in schools today, and it's not just the paper industry saying it.

The strongest argument for paper over digital seems to be in the area of taking notes. Several studies suggest that college students should write lecture notes by hand — on paper — rather than typing them on their laptops, according to this NPR piece from 2016. For one thing, "laptops and tablets have a tendency to be distracting — it's so easy to click over to Facebook in that dull lecture."

But the researchers found there was a larger issue at play.

"When people type their notes, they have this tendency to try to take verbatim notes and write down as much of the lecture as they can," researcher Pam A. Mueller of Princeton University told NPR's Rachel Martin. "The students who were taking longhand notes in our studies were forced to be more selective — because you can't write as fast as you can type. And that extra processing of the material that they were doing benefited them."

Of course, technology and screens have great potential to improve learning in areas like math or special education. And pioneers like Sal Khan have demonstrated how computers can reach millions of students in ways print never could.

Smartphones, text messages and other technologies are changing schools and learningin profound ways: in areas like student engagement and financial aid and parental involvement.

And yet, as my colleague Anya Kamenetz notes, "the digital classroom has its own problems." Like cost. You have to buy expensive equipment and maintain it, and there's training on software and devices. And the constant updates.

"Paper is reliable," says Kamenetz. "And everyone knows how it works."

What about reading?

In terms of memory, or retention or how we process information, is there any difference between reading on paper and reading on a screen?

It's a question researchers still haven't — definitively — answered.

Our friends over at the Hechinger Report weighed in recently with this piece: A Textbook Dilemma: Digital or Paper, which notes that there's far less certainty — and large-scale research — on this question than you'd expect.

The report I got in the mail touches on this, too, with an article by Naomi S. Baron, a professor of linguistics at American University in Washington, D.C.

Baron cites her own research showing that college students say they concentrate better when reading in print. But then she adds this: " ... we probably remember more of what we read in print. I say 'probably' because researchers are still figuring out" how to test this memory question.

Beyond all that, though, looms the fear that author Philip Yancey explored recently in The Washington Post. The fear that with so many sources of information out there, books and long-form reading may be getting pushed aside: "The Internet and social media have trained my brain," Yancey writes, "to read a paragraph or two, and then start looking around."

I feel this, too. I used to carry a book with me just about all the time. Now, I'm reading mostly on my iPhone.

Author: Steve Drummond

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