For the last two years, Hearst has partnered with mobile tech provider ShopText to place mobile codes in CosmoGIRL ads that allow readers to order product samples or enter sweepstakes via their cell phones. After an initial purchase, users need only text a keyword and PIN to buy products advertised in the magazine.
Now that functionality will be expanded to the other Hearst titles. ShopText CEO Steve Roberts estimates conversion rates (based on people providing mailing addresses after texting in from an ad) at about 80%, far higher than typical rates for clickable banner ads. "We're making offline media interactive and accountable," he said.
Roberts, whose company also works with Procter & Gamble, expects Hearst advertisers in categories like personal care, health and beauty, and travel to incorporate the ShopText service into their print ads.