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How can static print ads be interactive?

Static print ads come to life when magazine publishers deploy an omnichannel digital strategy. Supplementing print publications with digital content is nothing new. The innovation lies in the way leading publishers are now using print ads to engage new and returning readers in the digital space.

Orbis Research predicts magazine publishers will continue to innovate by creating more agile advertising to appeal to mobile users. More than 69% of digital media time is spent on mobile devices, so optimizing print ads for a mobile audience is a no-brainer. While most digital users pay little attention to advertising, a phenomenon known as “ad blindness,” interactive advertising is a fresh approach for print publication advertisers to gain reader attention. For example:

  • Nivea’s print ad for their sunscreen product features a tear-off bracelet that employs a smart phone app to alert parents if their children stray too far away.
  • Peugeot’s full-spread ad promotes their car’s safety features by inviting readers to “hit this spot hard” to inflate a miniature version of their airbag.

While these ads are definitive “think outside the box” examples, there are some rules advertisers and publishers should consider for their interactive campaigns.

Rules for supplementing print with interactivity

Digital interactivity is undoubtedly effective, but industry experts advise publishers and their advertisers to follow a few best practice guidelines, including: 

  • Use online landing pages. QR codes — or short, memorable URLs — drive members of a target market to specific online offers. Linking to a landing page is a rudimentary interactive experience, and experts consider it the absolute minimum for print ad connectivity.
  • Deploy QR codes. While these connectivity tools briefly fell out of favor, they’re back now. Use them.
  • Create a true omnichannel experience. Incorporate print ads with in-person or online events — and connect both channels to the digital space. Trade shows are slowly coming back, and publishers can stretch advertising dollars by making ads work across the board.
  • Social campaigns. Start a two-way conversation between digital and print channels with social media campaigns designed to drive print subscriptions. Use coupon codes for special offers.

These are just a few ideas from firms that have successfully incorporated omnichannel strategies for interactive campaigns, and they’re a good starting point for publishers and advertisers looking to launch their own creative ventures.

Three ways to use interactive print ads to drive magazine subscriptions

What can magazine publishers learn from successful interactive print campaigns? Consider these three examples of creative magazine ads that generated interest — and sales.

  • Volkswagen used a three-page print spread to invite readers to “test drive” their vehicle features. With the aid of a smart phone app, readers could “drive” down a stretch of photographed road and experience features like lane assist, adaptive lights, and adaptive cruise control. The phone — acting as the reader’s car — would vibrate to mimic vehicle notifications.
  • Motorola joined forces with Wired magazine in a print campaign designed to highlight the customization features of their Moto X phone. By pushing “buttons” on the page, the reader could change the color of the phone pictured in the ad.
  • Reporters Without Borders, a nonprofit advocate for global press freedom, published full-page newspaper ads featuring photos of dictators notorious for their opposition to the free press. Using QR codes, an iPhone app, and pre-recorded digital videos, readers could listen to reporters describe “free press” conditions under these tyrants as though the dictators themselves were confessing to wrongdoing.

Only one question remains: What can magazine publishers learn from these interactive ads to drive interest in their own brands? And the answers are defined by available technology and the limits of creative imagination.

Contact your Sheridan representative for a consultation or visit our contact page to learn how Sheridan professionals can help you streamline your publishing processes, reduce costs, and keep up with changes in print and publishing strategies.

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