Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Jack Becht, Co-Founder and Director of BULLETT Magazine’s Interactive Digital Publication for Tablet.
Pitching marketing teams on the benefits of interactive tablet advertisements often leaves me with this nagging feeling that I’ve been talking to the wrong people. Marketing professionals are quick to assess tablet advertisements according to the same analysis they might otherwise apply to print advertisements, and in doing so miss the most important point of all: tablet advertisements are not instruments designed to promote a future sale- they are e-commerce platforms unto themselves. The idea of advertisements as self-monetizing assets presents a platform for analysis that would require a level of scrutiny that is often beyond the considerations of a marketing department. Here’s why:
The traditional value scheme associated with print advertisements is anchored in the notion that time spent within an advertisement will result in ad memory, which will translate into ad activation. Companies go to great lengths to prolong the amount of time spent within their print advertisements. They abandoned black and white images for color. They include clever slogans and photos. They apply high gloss finishes, print on unique papers, offer scratch and sniff interactive features- all with the intent of catching your attention, getting you to remember something, and increasing the likelihood of a purchase down the line. This is a fundamental pillar of print advertising and the essential lifeline of most print publications.
Then comes the tablet asset, which is really more of a pop-up store within a publication than it is advertisement. Rather than printing photos using a CMYK color palate, these advertisements are suffused with millions of colors, and often accented by backlit retina display. They are animated, include video and scrollable text frames, utilize interactive display functions, and provide a platform for multiple photo galleries within a single page. Finally, they are shopable. By linking these 360 branding experiences to e-commerce platforms, brands may now skip the middle man that is “ad activation”, and can direct traffic directly to a point of sale. This is not an advertisement. This is a storefront, and it deserves the attention of anyone who might otherwise analyze the potential for returns on such an investment. This kind of thing should land on the desk of a VP of business development, with bus dev budgets at play. It should not fall within the purse or purview of a junior marketing associate.
So when consulting with big brands, and talking CRMs and circulation and added value and all of the other fun topics associated with ad sales, I often pack up my ipad a little more convinced that I’d be doing a whole lot more business were it not for the now antiquated infrastructure of traditional ad buys. The playing field has shifted, and its companies like mine, and I would imagine many others out there, that strive to educated marketing teams beyond the capacities of their own departments such that business might be conducted, literally pushing the industry forward against about a hundred and fifty years worth of foundational knowledge and corporate asset allocation.
So how do we break past the marketing teams? Further, if I were a senior strategist advising both bus dev and ad sales, could I rationally broker a dual-budgetary purchase of native in-design files with no sense of context or placement? Who will advise me on how and when to use my tablet asset, and where will I get the money to place it in the high value publications? What if the submission specifications between competing interactive publications are not yet harmonized? Who will adapt my files for submission? Is it really worth the trouble?
With all these considerations, the business of interactive asset development is without a doubt one of the more interesting and entirely unexpected challenges that interactive tablet publications have afforded us.