Taking Print Media Online

Most UK readers still prefer print magazines

According to a new study by Deloitte, 60% of people in the UK still prefer to read printed magazines rather than online content, the NMA reported. Is this surprising what with all the seemingly explosive demand for nice new gadgets such as iPad?

I’d say not really, because as Erick Schonfeld puts it in his article on TechCrunch, ‘print media companies are still feeling their way in this new medium’.

Taking a PDF version of your print magazine and dropping it into an iPad application whilst adding some interactivity through the use of videos and slideshows is not taking advantage of what the technology can really offer. If you really want to try a different reading experience then try out Flipboard, Apple’s iPad app of the year in 2010. It allows you to be your own editor and choose from multiple content sources to pull down realtime news and articles into your own customized magazine. Not only that but its social so you get to share content with your friends so you’re always in touch with trending issues that you and the people you trust find interesting. Personalised so to speak.

That is the experience media owners should be striving to achieve. For those who get it right will definitely reap the rewards. Here’s Erick’s views on what the optimal iPad news/content reader should be:

Social: It should show you what your friends and the people you trust are reading and passing around, both within that publication and elsewhere on the Web.

Realtime: News breaks every second, and publications need to be as realtime as possible to keep up. A “daily” already sounds too slow.

Local: The device knows where you are and should serve up news and information accordingly, including, weather, local news and reviews.

To be fair to publishers, there have been some industry issues that needed to be addressed, but now Apple have finally opened up their subscription service meaning readers no longer have to purchase each new version of a magazine or newspaper separately. The service will also address the issue of providing access to existing subscribers. If the publisher wishes, readers who already pay for the content on the publishers web site can have access to the publication’s mobile app for no extra charge.

It will be an interesting space to watch. Google have just launched One Pass, their own rival subscription payment service taking only a 10% cut as opposed to Apple’s 30%. Then there’s the recent news that Apple might soon be forced to make further changes to their service thanks to the possible violation of antitrust laws .

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Demand is there for mobile shopping

Here’s a couple of interesting points that go to show consumers here in the UK really are ready and willing to embrace the mobile shopping experience:

– ASOS, a fashion retailer, generated over £1m in a single month just two months after the launch of their mobile site.

– Both John Lewis and M&S have reported selling items in excess of £3,000 via mobile.

I’m not sure how much more proof UK retailers need that the demand is there but so many still do not have decent, usable, mobile solutions on offer. Getting something built and launched doesn’t necessarily have to be a huge, time intensive project…mobile web applications, essentially mobile optimised web sites, can quite often do the job just as well as native applications.

The New Rules of Mobile Marketing

Here’s an article I found on Adotas written by Bryce Marshall. All of his rules ring true but it was particularly the first one that really struck a chord with me:

Old rule: Taking a “wait and see” approach to mobile, or employing an under-funded “toe-dipping” methodology.

New rule: The consumer is mobile. This is a reality. In 12 to 18 months, the mobile landscape will be forever changed. The “wait and see” and “toe-dip” approaches will land your brand squarely in the consumers’ rear-view mirror. At minimum, a brand’s mobile strategy and budgets should be aligned to create mobile-friendly experiences across key digital touch points and critical business services.

Mobile Internet Usage & Trends

Well Econsultancy has published their latest statistics on mobile internet usage and trends from both here in the UK and Europe. I’ve picked out a few of the interesting ones:

  • 42% of UK shoppers have used their mobile phones while shopping offline, while 16% used it to compare prices with other stores.
  • 55% of small businesses have not checked the appearance of their own website on a mobile phone, despite the fact that 64% of small business owners regularly use the mobile web.
  • 41% of SMEs said their website didn’t look as good on a mobile, while 36% said the functionality had been affected.
  • Just 7% have already optimised their sites for mobile, but 65% had no plans for a mobile version.
  • According to a study of 1,500 people in the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain shoppers who use their mobile in some part of the research and purchase process spend 15% to 30% more than those who use just one channel.
  • UK users prefer to access the mobile internet using a browser rather than an ‘app’ (70% versus 55%) according to a study by Orange.
  • Mobile internet sales could double in the next 3 years. By 2013 mobile internet sales could reach as much as £275m, 4% of online retail spending, up from £123m currently.

Mobile Barcoding

Mobile BarcodeWell Amazon have entered the fray and have added a nice new feature to their iPhone mobile shopping app. Users can now scan a barcode on a product and instantly get matching product and pricing information from Amazon’s catalogue allowing them to comparison shop as they are are walking through a store.

According to Amazon, its sales from mobile devices surpassed $1 billion last year so this new added functionality is only going to help drive this revenue stream.

This follows eBay and Google who have both already made their entries into this space. eBay recently purchasing RedLaser and Google adding barcode scanning to their Product Search last year.

Mobile Site vs Mobile App?

I saw a good article recently that was looking to address that quandary faced by marketers looking to engage with their audience in the mobile channel: What do you build first?

Do you build the mobile website before or after building a mobile application, be it for Android, iPhone, Blackberry or whatever platform you want to reach? Or would you be better off starting with an app?

Technology.Inc provide a helpful resource for marketers struggling to answer that question – a checklist of six items that should help steer the decision making process:

1. Utility: To reach the broadest audience, you need a mobile website. If you go with an app, you’ll have to continue to develop apps for the most popular platforms.

2. Need: Local businesses (think restaurants, retail shops) do better with mobile websites because customers generally just need basic information like a phone number or address. When the product is a service, like finance or transportation, apps are better. Apps are also better when usage is heavy.

3. Traffic: Apps are better for situations when you want to push a lot of information to customers, or when repeated interaction is likely. Also, if your website is already seeing a lot of traffic from mobile devices, you should launch a mobile site promptly.

4. Content: Text-based content often does well on a mobile site, while media-rich content is generally better within an app.

5. Availability: If you rely on and see a lot of search engine referrals for discovery about your business, you should consider building a mobile website. Mobile searches will reveal your site, but would not point to your app.

6. Cost: If cost is an important factor, consider a mobile website, which costs 50%-80% of the cost of building your main website. The article also quoted Aaron Maxwell of Mobile Web Up, a mobile design firm for businesses, saying that a well-done mobile app can cost as much as $35,000-$50,000 on each platform. (There are low-cost alternatives, however).