Flipboard Looks to Elevate Tablet Ads

Ignoring Twitter API issues, company unveils social brand magazine for Levi's

After crossing the 20 million user threshold last week, On Friday, the social magazine Flipboard is looking to capture the imagination of brands by elevating tablet advertising. To that end, Flipboard has unveiled a new digital magazine-like ad treatment for Levi's, which blends elements of full-page magazine ads and social media.

Appearing in the Flipboard feeds of Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, Details, Elle, Esquire, ESPN, Marie Claire, Glamour, and Fast Company, the new ad treatment will give readers access to a Levi's-branded social media brand hub with a built in e-commerce app. As far as revenue is concerned, publishers own the relationship with advertisers, but Flipboard will receive a cut of the generated ad revenue for optimizing and hosting the content in what the company is calling the first "shoppable brand magazine." 

For example, if you’re surfing through Rolling Stone’s Flipboard feed, you’ll most likely come to a high-resolution full-page Levi’s ad featuring photos from its ‘Go Forth’ campaign. Upon tapping the ad, you’ll be redirected not to another Web page but a mini-magazine built solely for the brand.

“It’s a little bit meta,” Flipboard’s head of marketing Marci McCue told Adweek. “Like a Flipboard inside a Flipboard.” From this social brand magazine a user has access to tweets, Facebook content, as well as content from the brand's presence on Google Plus and Instagram. The e-commerce component will also allow users to shop inside social content such as a tweet. Ostensibly, if you see a pair of jeans you like in a tweet, you can add them to your shopping cart without leaving Flipboard. 

The product may be a solution to the growing original and social content that brands are producing each day, but the inclusion of shoppable tweets is a unique use of Twitter’s API, which has recently tightened reigns on third party developers. Flipboard, however, seems less concerned with the possible API side effects, noting that its platform benefits the social network. "We don’t think [the changes] will impact our readers,” McCue said. “That is a separate thread from what you read on Flipboard. It won’t affect the readership."

"We spend a lot of time encouraging brands to do more with the social networks and in some sense we are an advocate for them," McCue added. "Twitter loves the fact we’re encouraging Levi’s to do more with their Twitter feed.”

Others, however, see the relationship between the companies as less certain, citing Flipboard founder Mike McCue’s departure from Twitter’s board and his recent comments in the Daily Telegraph concerning Twitter’s possibly shortsighted mindset