Last week, we discussed the current landscape for the magazine industry, and asked if AR could bring anything to the table. The short answer? Yes it can.

Caspar Thykier, Co-founder and CEO, Zappar

Last week, we discussed the current landscape for the magazine industry, and asked if AR could bring anything to the table. The short answer? Yes it can.

AR works particularly well where it conforms to the 4Cs principle - the right context, call to action, content and connectivity.

Magazines certainly provide the right context. Magazine-time is me-time. It’s an occasion when you want to immerse yourself in a subject and learn more. You’re in ‘receive’ mode. So it has a high level of interest, dwell time and engagement: the perfect setting for AR.

It also provides the right environment for the right call to action. We’re still at a point in the mass adoption of AR where we need to educate consumers about what AR is, what it does and why you should bother. Being able to speak editorially about AR within a publication and commit the right space to signpost the message and end user benefit provides positive endorsement from trusted writers to make readers take note - and action!

Ensuring the right content is delivered to live up to the fact that someone has gone to the trouble of downloading an app and scanning a page is critical. Again, with the amount of copy, photos and features that don’t make the final magazine, relevant additional content should be readily available. Clearly this experience has to offer more than a quick visit to the website or digital edition.

Finally, all the above is irrelevant if you can’t get good connectivity through your network or Wi-Fi. For the most part magazines (other than on the underground) strike me as being read in times of reasonable coverage.

So we have the right platform for AR. Now what can it do to add value?

  • From an editorial perspective, AR can enhance a story. It can provide additional easy access multi-media content – photos, videos, links, polls, promotions, social shares and other interactive elements to enhance any printed feature.
  • It can give a layer of updatable content to an article as a piece develops over time, giving readers a reason to revisit the magazine as it lies around the house. Similarly, it can help further serialise content over two issues, providing a reason to purchase the next one.
  • For ad sales it can make every ad (big or small) into a multi-media portal, enabling you to collect data in real time about users and their actions. These can be sold as premium ad space.
  • It can create new revenue streams from affiliate deals and m-commerce direct from the printed page onto your mobile next to relevant editorial.
  • From a commercial perspective, AR offers the potential to give its readership another reason to stick with the printed page and come back for more by offering content that’s only available when purchasing the physical magazine. Having fewer but more loyal customers buying the publication more often, spending more time with it, providing new advertising opportunities and analytics for brands charged at a premium could improve the bottom line.

AR allows a magazine to mobilise their audience in a way that is opt-in, doesn’t detract from the physical format or depend on the mobile component. Instead, it simply offers additional value-add content in a fun snackable way: we call it bite-sized infotainment.

To find out more about what makes Zappar stand out from the competition and how it could benefit your business, take a look here.