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Elle mobilizes print edition and sees 4x lift in engagement

Elle magazine in Spain recently mobilized its print pages using interactive image recognition, resulting in an engagement rate that was four times higher than a typical mobile campaign. 

The publication used tagged content to enable readers to scan magazine pages with their smartphone and access additional content, articles and information. The strategy is latest example of how print magazines are leveraging mobile to bridge the physical and digital worlds as readers increasingly embrace online content. 

?Readers are completely connected to their smartphones and tablets,? said Alvaro Del Castillo, CEO of TapTap. ?Those devices are always at hand and users expect to be able to use them to engage with brands in a way of their choosing. 

?From the publisher side, it makes sense because they are providing what users are already looking for,? he said. ?Elle benefits not only from increased engagement with their branded content, but also in that they gain insight into reader interests, understanding what they want from both an advertising and content standpoint.

?Because the app is branded as an Elle application, not a TAPTAP application, the user perceives this as a service provided by Elle, not a third-party.? 

Linking to digital content
TapTap?s image recognition technology was embedded within the Elle?s own application. 

Once readers have downloaded the app, they are able to access additional content by snapping a picture of the print page with their smartphone wherever a tag has been placed. Doing so directly links readers to branded digital content such as text, images, Web pages, video and multi-media. 

The initiative resulted in an engagement rate four times that of typical mobile campaigns. Additionally, each user stayed on a single magazine page for an average time of four-and-a-half minutes.  

Transforming print
Elle, which owned by Hearst Group, is a leading fashion magazine with editions appearing in many different countries around the world. 

In Spain, Elle has 731,000 readers with 146,830 copies sold each month. The Spanish edition also operates a Web site,, which has 1.8 million unique visitors. 

On mobile, Elle Spain offers a digital edition or iPad with the same content as the print edition. There is also a free Elle app.  

?Mobile will play a huge role in the future of traditional print magazines as it transforms print from a passive to an active activity and embraces the type of interaction consumers desire,? Mr. Del Castillo said. ?It?s a matter of turning offline users on to online content. 

?Publishers will see the benefits of increased engagement and brand awareness,? he said. ?Publishers and advertisers will also see how mobile can be used to receive data back on what consumers enjoy interacting with and will look to seamlessly incorporate mobile as a way to extend that content.?

Final Take
Chantal Tode is senior editor on Mobile Marketer, New York