Global Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer
Jeanniey Mullen is global EVP and CMO of both magazine app platform Zinio and VIVMag, an all-digital magazine for women. Mullen develops strategies to keep both the platform and the publication leaning toward the cutting edge of digital. Prior to Zinio, Mullen founded and chaired the Email Experience Council. She also spent time with a number of advertising agencies, holding digital and email marketing roles. Mullen spoke with eMarketer’s Catherine Boyle about how the tablet has affected Zinio’s digital magazine business.
eMarketer: What percentage of your audience is using a tablet?
Jeanniey Mullen: It’s about 50-50. We are seeing growth among other platforms, but nothing is anywhere close to what we’re seeing with iPad. It’s iPad, Kindle Fire and then from there it splits in a few directions.
eMarketer: What do advertisers need to know about advertising on tablet magazines?
Mullen: We’ve been enabling advertisers to run ads in the digital content in some really creative ways. For example, last year for the Emmys, we took every ad that mentioned the Emmys and enabled video that live streamed the Emmys show. On the night of the Emmys, if users had one of these magazines with an Emmys ad, they could click on the ad and watch the live backstage show.
The digital publishing space is still so new there aren’t a lot of rules or standards yet. Creating an ad for an iPad reader requires a certain pixel ratio and format. If you want to run that same ad on an Android device, it’s almost like starting over from scratch. Android doesn’t support all of the interactive features that iPad does. Plus, there are four different versions of Android tablets out on the market right now.
“Instead of an advertiser just buying an ad in Esquire, we can share an ad to everybody that’s shopping in the Men’s and Entertainment section outside of Esquire, for instance.”
So if you are creating your ad for an Android 2.2 device, there’s limited interactivity. There are a lot of decisions and considerations for advertisers related to interactive content. How do you build it for the lowest common denominator and make it phenomenal? And then how do you build off that so that other platforms can support it?
Another important consideration is that Esquire, which has about 600,000 print subscribers, doesn’t have nearly that many digital subscribers yet. So is an advertiser willing to put in all those extra dollars and time and effort for production to buy a digital ad in Esquire when it’s only going to reach X percent of the audience? That’s been a barrier.
It’s still early days, and we feel like we have a leg up in gathering audiences by category. Instead of an advertiser just buying an ad in Esquire, we can share an ad to everybody that’s shopping in the Men’s and Entertainment section outside of Esquire, for instance. It’s still early in terms of determining the value proposition, but advertisers are trying to figure out what makes the most sense for their business because they all want to do something.
eMarketer: How do digital or tablet subscribers differ from the average print magazine consumer?
Mullen: We know 85% of people who buy a Zinio digital magazine subscription have never had a subscription to that magazine in the print world. So these subscribers are all new blood for publishers. The content-discovery model seems to be very interesting to our consumers and driving a tremendous amount of our commerce. We also know that more than 20% of the Zinio audience, tens of millions of people, are actually accessing the same magazine on three different platforms—meaning a smartphone, a PC or Mac, and a tablet.
eMarketer: Does it matter to Zinio where consumers first start to engage with the content?
Mullen: Yes, there’s a huge difference in the commerce-enabled profitability of a customer based on the platform that they first engage. If they come in through a PC vs. an iPad vs. a BlackBerry Playbook vs. an Android smartphone, there are huge differences in how monetizable they are over the course of a year. There are differences in how responsive they are going to be, and huge differences in what types of merchandising and commerce-enabled tactics they’re going to respond to.
“We know 85% of people who buy a Zinio digital magazine subscription have never had a subscription to that magazine in the print world.”
eMarketer: Zinio has tracked tablet commerce for a long period now. Have tablets surprised you in any way?
Mullen: In the early days of the iPad, we saw a huge difference in the number of subscriptions that someone who downloaded the Zinio app on the iPad would put in their cart when they made their first purchase. It was six times higher than the number of subscriptions that a person would purchase from Zinio.com on their PC or Mac. At first, we were all shocked and blown away, but then we realized human nature is to fill up an empty library—because who wants to open up a library and have only one thing in it? Nobody. That behavior right there enabled us to identify the iPad user—just by the fact that they have an empty library sitting in front of them and are compelled to fill it up. [That user] is going to be a great buyer for us from a volume standpoint.
We’ve seen some smart publishers like Rodale and Harvard Business Review doing cross-product sales. They know users can’t buy multiple subscriptions to the same magazine, so they are promoting other magazines from their publishing house, or other products like audio books, special issues or books that they’ve published.
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Check out today’s other articles, “Tablet Shopping Growing, but Retailers Must Keep Up” and “Multitasking in Australia Leads to Multichannel Opportunities.”