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5 top tips for creating a successful digital edition – Q&A

In a follow up to his recent webinar on digital editions, Paul DeHart, CEO of BlueToad, answers five additional questions posed by attendees at the event.

By Paul DeHart

5 top tips for creating a successful digital edition – Q&A

Q: Is a digital replica of the traditional print edition still worth providing to readers or should we just provide a responsive / mobile version?

A: In our experience, the majority of publishers still produce and distribute a digital replica of their print. But they do it alongside a responsive version. We think it is important to have both options available to readers and to give the reader the best possible default experience based on the device they use to access the content. Many of our customers default desktop readers to the replica edition and default phone readers to the responsive version. In either case, the reader should be able to navigate between the two versions depending on preference. According to a survey we sent out earlier this year, 40% of magazine readers said they still want the ability to see a digital version of the print. I think this is because there is a certain amount of comfort and trust associated with content in that form.

Q: Which device should I focus on when launching my digital magazine - desktop, phones, or tablets?

A: I would focus on phones and desktop. Tablets had their moment in the few years after the iPad was released in 2010. Since then, the majority of reader engagement has occurred through phones and desktops / laptops. But your content should still be easy to consume on any device, including tablets. A proper responsive solution should make this easy to do. Right now, we are seeing about 50% of engagement across our platform coming from phone users. So, translating your content well to the smaller screen is really important.

Q: Are there differences in the digital audiences and engagement depending on the type of publication, like B2B versus consumer magazines?

A: There absolutely can be differences but the differences can also be influenced by factors like genre, reader age, and geography. So, it can be hard to group publications into buckets based on just audience type. Generally speaking, many B2B magazines have a higher percentage of desktop readers, but some interestingly, like farm or agricultural titles, have a higher percentage of mobile readers simply because their readers aren’t tied to a desk. You will probably know your readers best and whether they gravitate towards a certain device or content delivery style. The key is to communicate what you are doing and listen to your readers.

Q: Our editor is concerned about forcing readers to have too many logins to access content (eg. web, app, and digital). Is there a solution?

A: There are solutions for this. For example, we support a SAML based Single Sign On (SSO) option. These sorts of solutions allow your readers to use a single set of access credentials to access your content across different platforms. You can also implement more custom integrations with third party or internal fulfilment systems to funnel all access through a single gatekeeper.

Q: How do publishers use data in their advertising and sponsorship discussions?

A: As publishers shift their focus to digital, readership numbers and advertising are big discussion points. Publishers are used to reporting to advertisers the total number of magazines delivered plus a certain amount of pass-along engagement, which could easily more than double estimated readership. With digital, you know exactly how many eyeballs are looking at your content - good or bad. Publishers can share total active users that see an advertisement, click throughs on URLs, time spent on page, video or audio engagement, and other potential content interactions. The key, however, will be resetting advertiser expectations, as your digital audience will almost certainly be less than your reported print audience. This is especially true in the beginning as you retrain your audience to engage digitally. The good news is that your digital audience is a more committed audience and thus more valuable to advertisers. Ultimately, you have to build this audience by constantly promoting the benefits of your brand and the digital content experience you have to offer to readers.

You can view a recording of Paul’s webinar here.

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About us

For more than a decade, BlueToad has been the digital content partner of choice for thousands of publishers across the globe to create and monetise beautifully responsive digital editions and web content. With an office in London, BlueToad is now focused on providing its GDPR compliant and award-winning solution to publishers in Europe, offering mobile editions, responsive web content, and audio publications.

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