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Tablet Magazine Experience Falls Short

Room for growth in formatting, advertising and commerce capabilities, users say

February 14, 2012

As magazine newsstand sales continue to plummet, publishers and markets are coming around to digital magazine formats. Consumers, too, are gravitating to these digital versions, with a large percentage of tablet users preferring digital magazines to their print counterparts. According to media measurement and insights firm GfK MRI, 67% of tablet users say they would rather read an electronic version of a magazine than a paper version.

However, the preference may be more based on convenience than aesthetic. Roughly 65% of tablet magazine readers told GfK MRI they find the print magazine experience more satisfying.

Attitudes of US Tablet Owners Toward Digital Magazines, Oct 2011 (% of respondents)

Digital magazines on devices such as tablets have a few shortcomings. Tablet magazine readers express dissatisfaction with factors related to formatting, advertising and commerce. The GfK MRI survey found that 72% would prefer all digital magazines be formatted the same way. In terms of digital magazine advertisements, 70% would like to be able to buy items by clicking on the ads, and 70% would like electronic ads that are personalized to their interests.

A study by The Association of Magazine Media (MPA) also shows that when it comes to digital magazine advertisements, consumers have mixed feelings. They are somewhat split on whether they like ads within digital magazines; moreover, 71% of respondents said they found electronic ads to be somewhat annoying.

Attitudes of US Magazine App Users Toward Digital Magazine Advertising, Nov 2011 (% of respondents)

Perhaps consumers aren’t against ads in digital formats—rather, they expect more interactivity and digital-specific experiences. For instance, they want personalized ads that enable commerce capabilities. Tablet magazine advertisers should consider these factors when designing experiences for the modern magazine reader. When trading in print magazines for digital, consumers want added features to sweeten the deal.

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Check out today’s other articles, “Multichannel Campaigns Increase Reach, Branding Potential” and “Half of Internet Users in Latin America Buy Online.”


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