updated 12:40 pm EDT, Thu July 21, 2011
Adobe and Conde team to make digital mag ads pay
Adobe and Condé Nast teamed up on Thursday in hopes of improving how tablet and other digital magazine publishers can track their readers. A new metrics system will let companies publishing on the iPad, Android, and elsewhere track the "circulation" across both one-time readers and subscribers as well as information that could only be had from digital. The tracking will let a publisher see how how many people have seen an ad, how often, and how often people return to a magazine.
The tracking method will be available to publishers starting from the fall and becoming more widely accessible in the first half of 2012. Access isn't expected to be exclusive to Condé Nast's magazines but will likely reach them first.
Tracking digital magazines has been a sticking point for traditional publishers, many of whom have been hesitant to get into the field based on a lack of familiar data. Condé Nast senior research VP Scott McDonald explained that reading habits in apps were much like those in print, rather than the short stints on the web, and could be tracked accordingly. The metrics should help show what ads work as well as whether certain articles or layouts are working.
The data might help the most on iOS, where Apple's rules on subscriber data prevent the harvesting of frequently deep information about subscribers. Advertising hasn't been a major issue now that it's known many voluntarily give basic information, but the new methods could help get higher-quality ads or tune the number of ads and boost the profitability of iPad magazines.