Digital magazine publishing is the art of adjusting the content type and distribution platform to the changing readers’ demands, and technological development. No matter what type and size of a publisher you are, finding relevant distribution channels is an integral part of your content marketing strategy. A well-chosen platform brings together special, profiled readers who are actively interested in your brand and are willing to subscribe.
Our 10-year experience has shown us how many publishers, when looking for a distribution platform for their content, face a question – should I choose a mobile app or an e-kiosk flipbook? To dispel the doubts, we decided to point out the main features of both of these solutions – each of them is unique, and meets specific needs.
What kind of needs?
See and find out which solution is tailored to your publishing activity.
Digital magazine platforms – which one to choose?
If you are reading this, you’re probably into digital publishing in a way – you are distributing issues in PDF format, creating an online web magazine based on WordPress, or wondering about self-publishing of your e-book, comics or different type of publication.
Whichever of the above-mentioned situations we would talk about, you have probably already had, are having, or will have, a dilemma related to choosing an additional distribution channel for your content. And you know what? That’s great! It means that you are thinking about your brand’s development.
To make this decision easier for you, we compare two digital magazine platforms: a mobile app and an e-kiosk flipbook. Both are designed to distribute content in a modern and effective way and support selling your digital magazines the Amazon way, by providing the option to have a glimpse of what’s inside.
However, their designation differs slightly from each other.
You can choose one of these digital solutions, as well as offer your readers a multi-channel or an omni-channel experience thanks to which they a seamless and consistent brand experience across different channels. It makes people can use the publishing platforms in parallel and thus act across them.
An omnichannel content strategy requires publishers to deliver highly personalized content to every touchpoint across their audience’s entire customer journey and therefore to have deep knowledge about the customers.
Digital magazine and its mobile app
The world’s biggest news publishers, like The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Guardian, have had great success with their own mobile apps. In addition to serving as a new revenue stream, they have found that this tool offers a great opportunity to increase loyalty. But smaller publishers, particularly local news publishers, also have used the potential of mobile apps:
We can further list examples of well-promoted and beloved (by readers) apps created by us for a number of more niche e-magazines. Behind each of these titles, there was a need, which was creatively addressed by this solution.
When should you consider using a mobile app for your digital magazine?
→ If you’re looking for an additional monetization channel
No wonder that in times of rampant misinformation, the demand for access to valuable and proven content has increased – even if a fee is obligatory. This is why the subscription model has become number one for publishers willing to earn more money.
Restricting app access to subscribers-only (with or without a tiny portion of free content) is a strategy used by the most influential world newspapers, niche magazines, and WordPress publishers. A condition for its success is that the magazine offers enough exclusive content and innovative app features to make the subscription worth paying for in readers’ eyes.
Many publishers decide to launch a strategy based on free access to all mobile content with no fees for downloading the app. This does not exclude earning opportunities. In that case, revenue can be generated by mobile ads thanks to services like Google Adsense and AdMob. They allow one to keep the high-quality user experience without disturbing the reading by offering ads perfectly matched to the look of the content and to the readers’ interests.
This kind of strategy works well for publishers whose apps have dizzying download numbers. The smaller ones will have a hard time to generate positive ROI with this approach.
→ If you want to extend your e-magazine distribution
Whether you publish PDF files or run an online web magazine based on WordPress, you have solid grounds for expanding your content distribution and conquer the biggest digital newsstands in the world. Your magazine can be available on Apple App Store, Google Play, and Amazon Appstore. A mobile app can become an additional source of a global audience.
By launching a mobile app for your digital magazine, you are expanding your range to reach out to potential readers who have, so far, showed the least interest. This solution can spread awareness and augment the accessibility of your magazine.
→ If you wish to provide the readers with a real-time news source
In the age of flooding of news and information, it’s better to have an attitude of being proactive and agile by sending people timely notifications, instead of letting users wait for communication to happen and make them seek responses. The more so because they always have a mobile phone with them.
The method is sending timely notifications. News apps notify people about new content, fresh issues and the latest news, which makes it impossible for them to forget about the brand. By providing people with real-time content, you grab their attention, strengthen ties with them, engage them in communication or keep them engrossed with your offerings and schemes through smartly planned notifications.
Even if they can’t read at the exact moment of getting a notification, they can save the article and come back to it when they have time to stay longer. These reader-oriented features allow them to be constantly up to date and decide when to read, even if they are offline.
→ If your goal is to attract new readers and turn existing ones into subscribers
The mobile app user experience is superior to the website for both content and advertising, which is one of the factors pushing the user towards mobile devices. Digital formats like smartphones and tablets offer completely new technical possibilities. In contrast to the websites, mobile apps are faster, more interactive, and can often allow offline content browsing.
Mobile app has the ability to stimulate loyalty by building and pulling its users deeper into the conversion funnel. It will help you keep in touch with every reader, engage your community in every place and at any time.
The publisher has the possibility of direct contact with their app users, which strengthens the bond between the brand and the readers. From this point of view, the app offers another invaluable advantage – during use, readers reveal a lot about themselves. This data and information are just waiting for regular analysis which can be used for optimizing publishers’ strategy, creating new content and formats, and in the effect, turn regular readers into paying subscribers.
→ If you think about giving your engaged community something great
Have you got an engaged community gathered around your brand? Give them something extra. When a mobile user downloads the app, they are generally more dedicated and engaged than regular website visitors.
The fact is that the design of user interfaces on smartphones favors feeds of content and video formats, which is an added value to the content app. These options, in particular, can take your articles to a completely different interactive level. Moreover, especially the so-called Generation Z often expects interactive elements in the application.
With an increased level of interactivity through commenting, social sharing, instant notifications, offline reading, and perfectly adjusted mobile ads support, a branded mobile app provides people with a totally different reading experience.
E-magazine published and sold on a digital newsstand
While all app stores take commissions on sales, the good option is to diversify digital publishing platforms and thus optimize costs to sell the same amount of pieces through your own site, so you automatically earn more. By publishing on your own online newsstand, you retain 100% of the revenue and own the customer data.
Besides, there are situations, when a digital newsstand is an obvious choice.
→ If you want to be independent and have your own store’s page
Having your own digital newsstand is a way to publish and sell content independently without the division of cost e.g. with the publishing house or external companies which collect most of the profits. Publishers retain total independence in decision making, answering to publishing trends and the readers’ needs.
The newsstand solution offered by PressPad is available as a stand-alone website or can be installed on an unlimited number of pages as an embedded store. Publishers can select the domain of their choice and get additional benefits from having a separate store’s page on presspad.store or readmag.online and sell all access to their publications via their website, or blog.
Selling digital magazines on your own website is a great way to build your audience and strengthen your brand, instead of relying solely on external markets.
→ If you want to move your print magazine to digital
Digital magazine publishing doesn’t mean resigning from print at all but provides new distribution and monetization possibilities. Cutting back on printing must go hand in hand with investment in a better digital experience for readers.
According to Mequoda, “being on newsstands gives publishers a marketplace that 20% of their subscribers will find them on. This is an audience segment that must not be forgotten. If so, publishers can lose that 20% if they don’t put their publication also on the digital newsstand”.
Digital publishing is not only a matter of being available online but also the opportunity to gain incredible knowledge about the readers and unlimited hosting to store your PDFs, allowing you to upload all your archives and monetize on past issues. Getting the old issues of a print magazine is almost impossible.
→ If you want to sell PDF issues without worrying about the uncontrolled spreading of your publication
Digital newsstands are full eCommerce platforms for publications with card payments via e.g. PayPal or Stripe. E-kiosks like PressPad Store let people buy online access to your publication and read it in the browser without downloading a file, and publishers appreciate this approach.
One of PressPad’s customers, John Morrow from Alter Ego Comic Books, said:
What types of content can be distributed and/or sold as PDFs thanks to an e-kiosk?
- self-published e-books,
- magazine issues,
- education materials,
- catalogues of products,
- comic books,
- different texts including interactive content like hyperlinks, videos, gifs, etc.
→ If you want to self-publish your ebook
Digital publishing platforms help publishers and authors grow audience, revenues, and have proven to give them a jump start in their careers, which makes self-publishing easier than ever before. This path is the best choice for aspiring authors, writers and storytellers – their options to independently create and distribute the publications are virtually limitless, no matter what they want to publish. It is possible because technology companies which build digital publishing platforms continue to improve their online newsstands features.
In this case, there’s no participation of the publishing house or external companies which collect most of the profits.
Digital self-publishing is a trend now and along with the subscription model, they will be enjoying significant growth. The self-publishing will be a form of direct sales from the author to the reader by way of subscription models mainly.
Still don’t know what digital magazine platform to choose?
Choosing a magazine distribution platform is a big decision, which needs time, and reflection.
We hope that, to some extent, we have shown you in this article where the app will be more effective, and where the kiosk.
However, if you are still wondering or have any questions about these solutions, please don’t hesitate to ask us – for 10 years we have changed the magazine world thanks to digital publishing platforms. We’ve helped more than a thousand publishers from around the world reach over two million readers.
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