How many readers of fashion magazines treat them as catalogues? Magazine readers are known to seek out information from, and then buy products featured in magazines. To accommodate, the modern magazine has a catalogue-like structure: it tells us brand names and prices and lists stockist details toward the back pages. New digital magazine formats could make this system even more user-friendly, by packaging magazines into iPad applications that not only allow us to find what we’re looking for but share what we’re into with our social networks.
Interview Magazine was the first fashion magazine to launch an application for the iPad, and they did it particularly well. The application is unquestionably useful for readers, and hints towards bigger benefits for brands seeking product placement and advertising. The app allows the imagery and text within the magazine to be enhanced with additional video and audio content, enables direct linking to e-commerce sites, and offers the ability to share products via Facebook and Twitter. You can watch a demo of the magazine’s app here.
This technology can benefit featured brands by increasing exposure to social media channels, as readers are given the capability to easily ‘like’ or ‘tweet’ an item, obtaining greater reach than through readership numbers alone.
Product placement and advertising also becomes more accountable. Brands can receive data not only on impressions, but on ‘likes’, ‘shares,’ ‘tweets’ and emailing. They can also track the actions of incoming traffic to their e-commerce sites, which means a direct evaluation of the number of readers interested in a product. The end result: fashion magazines investing in iPad applications may become even more powerful vehicles for product placement and advertisements.
Magazines have achieved a similar effect through other digital platforms such as the iPhone and the web. The fashion retailer ASOS’s branded magazine has capitalized on the digital format, displaying products in an editorial style and linking those products back to their online catalogue. Yet Interview’s Scott Lambert rates the iPad as superior, stating it to be a magazine’s showcase in its ‘purest form, slick, sexy and portable.’
Launching digitally on the iPad also ensures that readers pay for content by purchasing the iPad app. Interview charges 99c for the app, the same price as their subscription rates.
If fashion magazines in New Zealand go through the iPad app route, I see myself buying in. The advantages for both readers and brands are clear, and magazines have the potential to become powerful social catalogues.[Image: Interview Magazine]