Mobile Activations in Print Media - Integration Tools or Interruptions?

For mobile readers, interaction is natural and expected with any content they consume. But print readers don’t necessarily share this mentality. Maybe the idea of getting a print reader to continue their experience on mobile is stretching too far. Or maybe the right trigger has yet to be developed. QR codes are an eyesore, watermarked images are overlooked, and other types of activations are little-known or platform-specific.

MediaPost’s recent article on mobile activations in print mentions that there were 8448 mobile activations in print magazines last year. The majority of these were associated with advertising rather than editorial content. Video, social media and contests were the most popular triggers, and QR codes the most popular activation tool. The interest from advertisers is there, the implementation is growing, but not enough readers are taking the bait. Why is this?

While mobile editions are becoming ever more important to subscription numbers, it doesn't necessarily mean that the reader is wanting the two medias to interact. Why not provide print subscribers with a free copy of your digital edition or App? Given the choice, some may switch to the more interactive digital version. And it’s really easy to get your print magazine mobile and include interaction directly in the edition. If you currently have mobile activations in your magazine, you will already have the print version and the interactive online content- all the elements to make a great online edition that can supplement print subscriptions, encourage conversion, and will not disrupt the consumption patterns of print or digital readers.

So what do you think- is there a way to include mobile activations in print editions without interrupting the consumption flow of the reader, or is it more wise given the current trends to keep the two medias separate, and encourage readers to engage with the more interactive version over time?

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Source: Steve Smith via
Image: golanlevin via the Flickr Creative Commons License