It’s a common sentiment among publishers to say “Print is dead”. And while there may not be as much ink on paper these days the print layout remains the most familiar and useful way to deliver content and is still very much alive. Structured layouts continue to deliver the most engaging user experience. It actually makes sense with you think about it… the UX of “the paper” has evolved to perfection over the past 400 years or so (and some would say even earlier).
Pages are the temple of the idea
Readers naturally engage with paginated content of print. Olive’s analytics routinely show that the paginated print experience consistently yields astoundingly high engagement in the form of pages per visit and time on site (also click through rates on advertising are notably higher but that is a topic for a different blog post.).
A data point that further supports this is the advent of the list based article, or “Listicle”. Credited as being popularized en masse by Buzzfeed and now by hoards of clickbaiters. Their excessive use of forced pagination, heavy page loads polluted with excessive number of display ads and diluted value of their already lightweight content… Eventually readers tuned out. Haven’t we all clicked through the top 10 celebrity homes or 20 most embarrassing moments; Guilty pleasures or not, the key learning here is that paginated content, especially when paired along with great headline writing, actually works. The secret here is that each page must provide a satisfying content experience. You may ask, what are the best paginated experiences out there? You probably already know the answer… Newspapers paginated both at the page level and the article level. The key takeaway: Keep the content experience of each digital page complete enough to serve the most of the editorial concept to the reader
To add even more value, it has been long touted, known and well studied that print advertising has different reader engagement characteristics than digital ads. There are a vast number of of theories and studies in both marketing and cognitive neuroscience that explain why but the fundamental idea is because readers are engaged with the other content of the publication, they actually read print ads and engage with those ads with the same behavior as editorial content. The multisensory media format has higher attention, recall, and triggers stimulation in the brain areas associated with desirability and valuation. This shouldn’t be much of a surprise either… Advertising in newspapers and magazines has enjoyed an evolution that has progressed, at least in the US since 1704 and even earlier in Europe. The key takeaway: Print ads still work. To extend that even further, we have found, in our non-scientific observations of digital insertion campaigns into replica reading experiences, that “print ads” within digital replica experiences also show this difference in engagement as represented by time on page and click through stats.
4. Deep linking works! Featuring stories in that day’s edition creates engagement and allows the paginated format and mechanics to take it from there. Any eEdition promotion can be a feature promotion. Readers who click directly into an article, engaging directly with the content, also tend to average longer time on site.
5. Digital Replica (eEdition) is a format that shouldn’t be limited to just your main product (your Daily/Weekly/Monthly edition). Instead, you can use it as a high engagement digital platform you can (and should) use for “free” publications, special sections, holiday guides, circulars, magazines etc. for more frictionless engagement.
6. Replica vs. Web is not an either/or… the technology has evolved and cross-media publishing is a very real option. Enriching print experiences with web assets (videos, web pages, interactive infographics) and enriching high SEO value web pages with the replica as a high engagement asset within that experience improves stickiness and engagement for both formats; extending the editorial experience and pulling the reader in to read more.
7. Should you include digital advertising? Yes, absolutely. It’s money left on the table that very few publishers can afford to forgo. The balance between UX and revenue should be nuanced across your free, registration required and subscriber premium products, but large audiences and high engagement are of limited value if you don’t monetize them.
Olive collaborates with publishers to follow best design practices and maximize their reader’s experiences. Olive Dynamic Newsstand publishers use our platform’s analytics to refine their eEdition design and measure promotion strategies. The results show reader engagement well beyond that of typical web and mobile experiences, and usually exceeding that of their native apps. On average all Olive publishers achieve these average eEdition performance metrics:
Just imagine what the numbers could be if you put it in front of a larger audience.
If you are not getting this kind of strategic insight and support from your current eEdition provider, then you need a new eEdition provider. Contact Olive Software today.