Six months after the Apple iPad went on sale, Condé Nast is releasing results of its first consumer research into the interactive touchscreen tablet, along with its implications for app developers and advertisers.
For example, the company found that many iPad users aren’t typical early adopters of tech devices, suggesting that ads have a better chance at being successful if they clearly direct users in how to engage with them.
“That was a fairly big surprise for us, and it has very big implications for how editors and designers design apps and how agencies design ads,” said Scott McDonald, svp, market research, Condé Nast.
Condé Nast was one of the first publishers to sell its titles on the iPad, and it wasn’t alone among publishers in starting with a title -- Wired -- popular with the early-adopter set. So far, the company said, it has sold 3.8 million downloads of its publications on Apple devices.
For the research, Condé Nast conducted one-on-one interviews and more than 5,000 in-app surveys, focusing on those who had downloaded its GQ, Vanity Fair, Wired and Glamour apps.
If some results aren’t particularly surprising, they’re noteworthy if only for the fact that advertisers have so little data on how people have been consuming media on the device.
Not shockingly, Condé Nast found people really like its apps: eight in 10 reported that the company’s brands met or surpassed expectations; 83 percent were likely to buy the next month’s issue; and users considered the in-app ads to enhance their reading experience.
“We’re very excited,” said Lou Cona, chief marketing officer there. “We believe there’s a huge business on the horizon.”
Also, people tended to read their magazines in portrait mode while switching to the landscape mode to watch videos, not unlike print magazine-reading and television-viewing habits.
Not surprisingly, the survey also found users expected to be able to subscribe to digital magazines, a purchase option Apple and publishers are still wrangling over.
Other findings also seemed obvious: ads that were exclusive to the iPad environment and contained clear calls to action and useful information were more effective than repurposed TV commercials and ads that repeated throughout the app.
One finding not included in the research was whether app purchases were cutting into print magazine sales. McDonald said it seems that app purchases are more incremental, but since magazines are only sold as single issues for now, it’s hard to tell how that might change if and when subscription sales become available.