Brand ads reinvented?
Some of the ads don't seem to be clickable at all - so they're like traditional paper ads, largely about getting the brand in front of the customer. Where there is a clickable element, it's a low-key invitation to get more information that takes you through to the advertiser's site, where you can get that information and sign up for more, a test drive, or whatever. It's kind of like the paper ads where if you're interested, you take a note of the address or phone number so you can have a demo or a conversation later. And if you're not interested, you just flip the page.
It's by no means perfect in execution. Some of the ads are just too clever/discreet (for me to figure out, anyway), and if you do respond to the 'call to action' (what the ad industry calls clicking), you'll usually be taken out of the app, into Safari and over to the advertiser's site. When you reopen the Wired app it will take you back to where you left off, but this less-than-smooth part of the process explains some of Apple's thinking behind the forthcoming iAds.
Wired's ads in the paper edition have traditionally been largely about branding, which is a class of ad that the web's measurability had a murderous effect on. In the old days before you could 'tell' how effective your ads were, you largely thought/hoped they were working, and while you could probably figure out if they were having some kind of impact, you could never really tell which spending was effective and which wasted.
This was a happy situation for the ad agencies and the publishers, but possibly not so much for the advertisers. On the other hand, the web hasn't necessarily been good for them either. It's undermined their ability to get their brand in front of the right customers, and CTRs (click-through rates) are a doubtful measure of whether or not an ad is getting the desired results from the desired customers.
Wired's approach, however, seems to swing the pendulum back towards branding. As is the case with a paper magazine, you can assume that most of the buyers are going to see most of the ads, and you can also assume that most of them aren't going to be looking for more information because not a lot of them are going to want to buy, say, a new Infiniti (note for non-US readers - this is a car) right now. But because of the way Wired's ads are designed, not many of the ones who do click will have done so by accident - they really will want to know more about the product.
So the theory - which seems to me to be a good one - is that the sales leads the advertiser gets from these ads will be very high quality indeed. High salary, Wired demographic, interested in buying - it ought, surely, to work, on the basis of ads of similar quality to those in the paper edition, but with added functionality that makes them more valuable.
A minor irony here (in addition to Mr Free's interesting position) is that Wired publisher Conde-Nast has been notoriously rubbish at the web. It knows all about high ticket magazines for high-value readerships and expensive, glossy ads, but it never really made a serious go of internet publishing, and was widely thought to be shaping up as a prime victim of the death of paper. Well now, maybe not...
It's early days, and it might all collapse when the novelty value wears out, but if you can get 80-90,000 sales at a premium price out of an installed base of two million, then you can quite possibly maintain that or better it out of a larger installed base, dropping the cover price if necessary, or introducing subscriptions. Subscriptions are particularly cool from the publisher's perspective because you've got the name and address of the purchaser and the beginnings of a relationship. And although Conde-Nast may know squat about the web, it knows buckets about subs, and loves them dearly. If iPad magazine apps do work in the longer term, then Conde-Nast's skill set is suddenly valuable again. ®
Did the iPad just save Wired, and Conde-Nast?
I can see this working
I can see a future of girls reading Vogue etc on their iPads, its just a bit smaller than the slimmed down magazine size and the option to have embedded movies, make up demonstrations, linking straight to where to buy / reserve new clothes etc will be a win. Instead of cat walk photo shoots you can get a little movie with sound of the latest bit of flutter.
It's cute. I had a demo version which I was looking at in a pub before they were released in the UK and all the surrounding girls loved it's cuteness.
Afterall it's perfect for a handbag no ?
I am sure there will be applications for us guys too but I can just imagine the excitement of my magazine devouring GF at this. OMG ! many magazines all on my iPad in one place with the latest stuff, the old stuff I can read *whenever I want* over and over and look ! Movies of clothes !
happy for less coffee table clutter.
Paris cos she's cute too.
She probably has the Art of War on hers.
Not a surprise people pay
@AC - That's the same slice that Google take on the Android Marketplace as well. I think it's a bit steep, but seems to be the standard rate for things like this. Given that they handle everything from credit card fees to hosting for you I can kind of see why though.
I'm also not surprised that people who are willing to spend at least $500 on an iPad would be happy to spend $5 on the magazine, at least as a one-off. If you've got that much money sloshing around in your wallet then you'd probably not notice $5. Not sure it'll work long-term though.
Personally I don't see the benefit, but then if you are buying Wired on a regular basis you are probably not that bright.
> Or worse, web advertising leaps out at you, and gets more and more annoying the more you try to ignore it.
Reminds me of some red-topped IT rag... hang on, I'll remember the name in a minute, has some sort of bird as the icon...
I'm an iPhone developer. Thanks for getting all upset on my behalf over Apple's 30% cut. Thing is, as far as I'm concerned 30% is an absolute bargain for exposing my apps to 100 million users with a system so simple that users do nothing more than enter their password to make a purchase, handling all the credit card transactions, handling upgrades, handling refunds, handling credit card fraud etc... Please don't tell Steve Jobs but I would have signed up at 50%.
Cost vs cut
'a traditional newsagent takes about 25% of the cover price'
A traditional newsagent has much higher costs though - premises, staff etc.
Steve Jobs doesn't have to get up at 5 am every morning to take delivery of his digital copies either.