While it may be exciting for advertisers to try out out an interactive ad in a digital magazine, at the end of the day, they just care about the numbers. With that in mind, Condé Nast and its digital magazine partner Adobe (NSDQ: ADBE) offered a unspecified group of “key advertisers” a look at some new metrics designed by the software company’s analytics unit, Omniture (NSDQ: OMTR), that promises to show levels of distribution, audience exposure and engagement.
Apart from advertisers’ and publishers’ for better metrics, the projects clearly shows why Adobe paid $1.8 billion for Omniture two years ago. After all, it’s one thing to help build great looking apps and web pages, but if you can figure out the various levels of audience reach for that content, that has deeper value to its publisher clients.
The announcement comes as magazine publishers have been struggling with how far to go in terms of developing digital issues of their magazines. Apart from trying to build greater advertiser interest beyond a special introductory issue, magazines and newspapers have been trying to determine how many versions to do for the various platforms and devices that are being released. Condé Nast, which was one of the earliest publishers to try magazines for the iPhone, has since abandoned the small screen for its replicas and has created tablet apps editions of Wired, GQ, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, Glamour, Golf Digest, Self and Allure.
As AdAge reported back in April, Condé Nast was slowing down on the release of magazine apps because the audience scale that premium advertisers demanded simply wasn’t there. The goal of this metrics project is to prove that the scale is there, and even if it still is a long way from the kind of audience numbers that print has, the tablet versions can offer an array of other touchpoints that ink and paper can’t match.
Among the kinds of insight Condé and Adobe plan to offer are:
— Total digital circ, including single-copy sales, digital subscribers and the number of readers who are “authenticated” (otherwise known as existing print subscribers who get the digital version at no extra charge).
— Total issue readers: the number of people who have accessed a digital mag at least once.
— Total ad readers: the number of people who have looked at an ad in a magazine app at least once.
— Total number of exposures per ad: how many times a digital ad was seen.
— Average number of times a reader viewed a specific issue.
— Average time spent with a tablet issue.
Even though the Audit Bureau of Circulations has modified its guidelines to include e-paper magazine replicas even if they don’t contain the same ads, that really doesn’t do much for advertisers curious as to whether they should spend additional marketing dollars on mag apps. While this sounds like a pretty good step, advertisers will not get serious about spending on digital editions of magazines and newspapers until proof of the scale is there and there are industrywide comparisons available.
But for now, major publishers like Condé Nast have to do something to prove the value of their magazine apps and internal measurements are still better than nothing at all. Plus, if they can be deeper than what the competition has to offer, that could help put Condé Nast first in marketers’ and media buyers’ minds.