While tablet editions clearly present a bright opportunity for magazine publishers and their advertisers alike, the value has been difficult to quantify. Now, Conde Nast will begin to offer its advertisers readership reports on a 10-week cycle, as first reported by Ad Age.
“Right from the beginning, advertisers have been looking for metrics,” Chris Reynolds, executive director, analytics at Conde Nast tells FOLIO:. “But we’ve been hearing it pretty vocally from agencies in the last ten months or so, since the ability to sell subscriptions through Apple.”
What makes this possible now, he says, has been the result of working closely with the Omniture arm of Adobe. Adobe, which purchased the online analytics company Omniture in 2009, powers Conde Nast’s digital editions through its digital publishing suite.
So far, the reports will cover iPad and Kindle Fire editions; Barnes & Noble’s NOOK will be included at a later date.
Refining the Data
Until now, the company has been working to make sure these metrics are as accurate as possible. Until early spring 2011, for example, offline readership data wasn’t being captured; once they realized this, it took a few months to fix.
Issue-specific metrics offered in these reports are: total issues opened by unduplicated readers, total sessions per issue, average session length and total content views.
Advertisers who sign on for premium, interactive ads get the benefit of additional metrics: the number of active subscription and single copy sales within the period, the number of unique readers who accessed a given ad, the total number of engagements with that ad and average time spent on an ad.
In terms of reader behavior—time spent with an issue, reading from front to back and so on—Reynolds says the overall metrics remain very close to that of print. This is significant, he adds, because the behavior has been consistent in the past two years. Not surprisingly, the company has found that ads with multiple pages, interactivity or increased functionality draw a “significant lift in engagement,” compared to static ads.
While Reynolds says the industry as a whole still has a lot to learn, this is a big step forward in the realm of transparency. He says, “We and the rest of the industry need to be working together to be able to develop consistent language and terminology around what we’re doing so the agencies and our clients understand what they’re really dealing with.”
Having a third-party authenticate such metrics in a similar way that PIB does for print, he adds, will be important going forward.