'Ad Age' Relaunch Includes New Scan-to-Share Print2Web Encoding

Age_Interact_Splash_ScreenWhen the newly redesigned issue of ad industry chronicle Ad Age hits desks this morning it will come with mobile enhancements. The longtime marketing industry weekly works in tandem with a new Ad Age Interact app that scans select articles from the print pages and shares their digital versions immediately via email, Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. The mobile encoding uses Digimarc watermark technology, and the reader is cued to an article’s share-ability by an icon on the page.

Digital versions of print publications and even some tablet and mobile digital editions usually allow in-line sharing of articles, of course. But this use of print2mobile encoding to share a print article immediately through personal and social channels is new. The app and sharing technology is enabled by Nellymoser. “This process is something new for us,” says Nellymoser EVP Roger Matus. “Ad Age will send new articles for each issue to Nellymoser via an RSS feed. We then auto-generate pages and links to the social networks using a template. It should make it very easy to keep the system up to date.”

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But Ad Age is a subscription publication, so the content being shared is not generally available. According to the magazine’s Editor in Chief Abbey Klaassen, the metered access model used at AdAge.com allows non-subscribers enough access to accommodate the model. “Non-subscribers to AdAge.com can view up to ten news articles a month without a subscription, and that would of course apply to shared articles as well,” she says. The new mobile sharing model dovetails with Ad Age’s redesign, which emphasizes more in-depth features. “We don't anticipate our paywall being a hindrance for anyone who wants to share articles through the app,” Klaassen adds. “But as with any new audience tool, we'll be monitoring the analytics and feedback around this new concept and make adjustments accordingly.”

The scan-to-share action virtualizes one of the most common magazine activities -- tearing out pages for later reference or passing along to others. Some scannable codes prompt users to like or share a brand using Facebook or Twitter links, but this is a unique example of using codes to digitally tear and share editorial.  

The Ad Age program brings to a b2b publication a mobile scanning trend that has taken consumer magazines by storm this season. A number of major titles have large print2mobile programs in their September issues. Seventeen magazine, for instance, has more than 250 images that are scannable in the current issue. Several magazines are also incorporating augmented reality (AR) techniques either to offer visual overlays onto a page or as an image recognition trigger to additional digital content.

Ad Age is also embracing a trend toward magazine brands maintaining tighter control over the scanning process by embedding the technology in their own branded apps. Prior to this year, most print2mobile activations required users to download a universal QR code reader or proprietary companion app from a third party like Digimarc or Microsoft. Companion apps help a publisher monitor the metrics coming off of a print2mobile program and keeps the reader within the brand experience.  

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