Then following the digital boom the industry’s best sought exciting new opportunities to grow their brand online by transforming their print magazines into flipbooks. However, lately a rift has grown in the market. With many publishers struggling to meet the evolving behaviour of today’s increasingly mobile reader, the question you must ask is whether your flipbook is still enough.
What is a flipbook?
As the name suggests, a flipbook (or digital replica) of your publication consists of the same print pages, digitised for online reading. For the most part this means uploading the PDF of your pages to an online publishing service or software which will convert the files into high-res image files. To add a sense of tangibility and familiarity to the experience, the pages are then arranged into a digital interface which allows you to flick or slide between pages as you would if you had the publication in your hands. The foundation of your publication is exactly the same as it appears in print—the layout, text, advertising, and articles—but it can be overlaid with interactivity features to bring something new and engaging to the traditional print experience.
Why do I need a flipbook?
It is no longer a question of should-I-or-shouldn’t-I? With more and more people choosing to consume content digitally, offering anything less that a flipbook will fall short of readers’ expectations and can actually damage your overall publishing strategy. Most of the larger magazine publishers led the charge for digital content years ago, setting the bar for all those which followed. While you will see most of the big name magazines (think National Geographic, The New Yorker, or Sydney Film Festival) taking advantage of all of the bells and whistles that digital flipbooks have to offer, you can rest assured that going digital doesn’t need to break the bank. Advancements in digital publishing technology are making it easier and more affordable than ever for small to mid-sized publishers to conquer the digital landscape.
The downside to flipbooks
Digital publishing strategies that rely solely on flipbooks to meet the demands of a growing digital market have fallen short in recent years. The problem is that digital behaviour has completely evolved beyond desktop reading, even in the past 5 years alone. You only need to look around your subway car during peak hour to appreciate how reliant we are on our mobile devices to feed us information and content and stay connected. In fact, Hubspot have shown that consumption of digital media on mobile devices has climbed from 18 minutes per day in 2008 to nealry 3 hours in 2015.
Flipbooks were originally built with desktop reading habits in mind. So when it comes to mobile it is easy to imagine how the same print replica pages will look when scaled down for small smartphone or tablet screens. With less screen real estate to contend with, readers now have to pinch zoom, flick, and scroll excessively simply to read your articles, turning what should have been an effortless task into an ordeal. With Google insider data reporting that only 9% of users will stay on a mobile site or app if it doesn’t satisfy their needs (for example, to find information or navigate quickly) you can expect to see your digital readership drop off if you haven’t taken into account the mobile user experience.
Creating a mobile optimised publication that converts
As mobile content consumers ourselves, we know what works, and we are quick to abandon that which doesn’t. It is important to distance yourself from the desktop mindset when publishing to mobile, which means reimagining both the structure and functionality of your digital magazine. Your PDF pages are no longer going to cut it if you want to nurture your mobile audience into a long term, profitable market.
Mobile behaviour remains for the most part fragmented, with users turning to their smartphones and tablets during micro-moments throughout the day to connect. When your market is on the go, your mobile content needs to be created for quick easy consumption. Here are 3 features you need to look for in a strong mobile publishing solution:
1. Short and Sweet
When viewed on mobile, even your 50 page replica edition can feel like a tome. With the popularity of apps like twitter, snapchat discover, and facebook instant articles, meeting expectations about mobile content means keeping it bite-sized. An effective mobile publishing strategy will look at breaking your publication down into articles and organising them so that navigation on smartphone is a breeze. When your publication can be leveraged on an article level it also makes social sharing and tracking highly targeted, and so, so much easier.
2. Rich and Reflowable
There are countless different mobile devices on the market, all with different browsers, screen resolutions and processing power—and even more are rolling out each month. Ensure your content looks and functions consistently across all mobile platforms by publishing rich, reflowable HTML articles. This means quicker loading times, so that you do not need to worry about patchy connectivity issues. This also means no more fussing around with unsatisfying PDF or image-based text. Vector text conversion will transform your articles into a superior mobile reading experience as adjusting the copy size will always leave you with crisp, high resolution text.
3. Win with mobile short-cuts
The ease and efficiency in which content can now be accessed anytime, anywhere on mobile has undoubtedly brought with it a ‘one-tap mentality’. If mobile users can’t find what they are after in an instant — if a mobile web page takes longer than 3 seconds to load — then they will indiscriminately turn to the next site which can deliver. It is worth mentioning again, but remember that only 9% of users will stay on a mobile site if it doesn’t satisfy their needs effectively. Your mobile publishing solution should address these concerns with the use of ‘mobile shortcuts’: accessible CTAs that guide readers towards information that they are looking for as well as your desired conversion Mobile optimized CTA buttons such as ‘visit advertiser’s website’, ‘tap to call’, or ‘tap for directions’ are all must-haves for an effective mobile publishing strategy.
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How you can master today’s digital landscape
Print—flipbook—mobile optimised! You may be wondering how you are supposed to juggle all of these platform considerations when time, resources, and budget can put a damper on your marketing creative. The good news is that you are not alone, and with the right digital publishing solution you can take your publication digital across all platforms and devices and come out on top.
The future, the present, of digital publishing is planted firmly in the mobile space, there is no denying this. According to the latest Brand Media Report conducted by MPA, publishing powerhouse American Media saw 385% growth in mobile traffic for Star Magazine in the past year alone. 4 Wheel and Offroad and Car Craft (TEN) boasted a huge 415% and 290% growth respectively, and Hearst Magazines saw 307% growth for Town & Country—and these are to name just a few.
The future-proof digital publishing strategy that is gaining traction in the industry is mobile-first. Lead with your mobile edition and build out to other platforms from there. When you transform your publications into rich, reflowable web apps you can ensure your content will look fantastic on every platform and device.
Realview has just launched Partica, a leading mobile-first digital publishing and content marketing solution which is helping publishers across all sectors find sucess in the digital space. We recognise that a winning digital strategy needs to see desktop and mobile working together to power your publishing efforts for maximum exposure and return. This is why you only need to upload your PDF once and you can have your content optimised for each platform, whether it be a high resolution flipbook, an engaging mobile web app, an accessible WCAG 2.0-compliant mini-site, or an article feed for your website.
If you haven’t started thinking about your digital future then don’t keep putting it off— now is the time to act. Click through to find out how you can take the mobile market by storm.