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In Circulation: Men’s Health turns to mobile

Men’s Health is making a play for more engaged audiences and better advertiser ROI with its July/August issue: the Rodale title has partnered with mobile marketer SnapTell to add mobile components to print ads.

An in-house ad near the front of the book explains to readers that they can receive special marketing offers and messages if they text a camera phone picture of an ad to SnapTell. To boost participation, readers are automatically entered into a vacation sweepstakes with each picture they send.

AT&T, Anheuser-Busch and Procter & Gamble join almost 100 advertisers in the promotion. DMNews spoke with Gautam Bhargava, CEO of SnapTell, and Jack Essig, VP, Publisher of Men’s Health, about the venture:

Q: Why would Men’s Health run these mobile ads? How do they help the magazine? The advertisers?

GP: From a magazine point of view they’re making print interactive and encouraging consumers to engage with the brand in a much deeper way. Rodale also liked the idea of giving much more value to advertisers, where consumers can engage with ads. Our technology also lets advertisers know how many people took a picture of the Powerade ad versus the AT&T ad, so with our technology print advertising has clear analytics associated with it. It’s very useful information for the advertiser to understand which ads are most effective for the magazine.

JE: This is an immediate return on investment for our advertisers and does demonstrate how interactive print can be. If a consumer chooses to “Snap” a client’s ad, then that consumer is a bona-fide “handraiser” expressing a direct interest in that brand. We are facilitating a direct conversation with the advertiser and the consumer. For readers, it is a service as well, providing them instant information on a product or service. 

Q: The Men’s Health audience is mostly men between the ages of 18 and 49 — is this a sweet spot for mobile interactive ads?

GP: There’s always a sweet spot for the best audience, but it works across a huge range of age groups and demographics. The technology is designed to reach consumers in a mobile setting, and it is becoming pretty universal. We have signed contracts with one big sports magazine, one fashion/celebrity magazine where it’s not a male audience but mostly younger females, a couple of men’s fashion magazines and we’re talking to a cooking magazine and a health magazine for females.  Yes, the age group does tend to be sub-35 year olds, but that’s a very broad range and it covers men and women.

Q: How are Men’s Health advertisers measuring ROI from this promotion? 

RS: In a broad stroke, we will provide the gross number of Snaps to a client’s ad. But the response is dependent on what the offer is. Some are providing coupons or sampling, so that metric will be different than an advertiser taking a more passive messaging path, i.e. directing them to their Web or WAP site.

GP: Advertisers are more interested in the quality of the interaction, so while they’re looking at how many people are sending in the pictures, they’re also looking at who, when they receive a link from a marketer after sending in the picture, will go ahead and click that link. We’ve seen a 40% uptake rate for these, which is unheard-of.

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