In 2011, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance embarked on a major growth initiative to expand its audience and develop new revenue streams by bolstering digital and social media content (and saw its reader demographics get younger and more evenly spit between male/female as a result). Now Kiplinger is kicking off the mobile part of its digital push, launching a mobile website on June 28.

“People are now using mobile devices as their wallet or Visa card,” says Kiplinger director of digital business development Wallace Ryland. “We need the ability to reach them at the moment of decision-making.”

Ultimately, Kiplinger wants its mobile product to be delivered to nearly every wireless device. “This Apple thing is an enigma right now,” says Ryland. “The revenue share is kind of iffy, so we’re taking a wait-and-see approach with apps.”

It also means a different type of editorial approach. “In the app world you can get creative with content,” says Ryland. “Our content doesn’t lend itself to breaking news and alerts. But to compete in mobile, you have to get someone to want to come to your site multiple times per day.”

Kiplinger will eventually launch apps with direct content on investing and retirement that’s packaged in a way that also leverages a gaming component and quizzes. “The mobile site is the starting point and the content we’ll be delivering will be a mixture of Web content but also a lot of the tools we’ve developed such as retirement and tax calculators,” says Ryland. “Video will be another big component. What we won’t be doing is just a PDF of the magazine.”

Selling Advertising Against Mobile

Kiplinger is still feeling out the process for selling advertising against the mobile web. “Some advertisers are interested in sponsorship, others are interested in targeting as specifically as they can through apps,” says national online sales director Liz Martin. “A lot of the website metrics we have aren’t present in mobile yet.”

Kiplinger is offering mobile ad units (300×50) and sponsorships (as well as selling through mobile networks) and selling through ad networks but also channel sponsorships. “We can do a flat rate sponsorship if they want 100 percent share of voice; if they want something more modest we can rotate them in on a CPM basis with other advertisers,” says Martin. “We’re finding that there is quite a bit of flexibility.”

One of the advertiser advantages to being on the mobile site versus the traditional website is that the advertising is going to be intermixed with the content more directly than most websites, according to Ryland. “Not in a way that we’re trying to fool them but there’s not a right-hand rail or billboard. We’re a niche publication and the way this is presented to readers will be extremely beneficial in clickthrough and performance rates.”

Pricing for mobile advertising ranges wildly in the market, from the mid-teen CPMs to $30,000 to $40,000 for sponsorships, with some sponsorships even ranging into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to Martin.

“In many ways, targeting technologies aren’t as developed for mobile,” says Martin. “Online we can do demographic targeting but in mobile, many people feel like it’s Big Brother. So many new marketers don’t see it as a proven performer yet. I started selling online in 2002 and print and broadcast advertisers felt the same way then. Online proved itself and I think mobile will do the same.”



Best Practices for the Mobile Web

Publishers may be well-schooled with websites but the mobile web is a different beast and still a training ground for many content providers. Here, Annette Tonti, CEO of MoFuse a specialist in mobile content management, offers a series of best practices for entering the mobile Web, as well as a few tips on what to avoid.

Best Practices for Mobile Web Design:

• Design for “Getting to the Point” Quickly: Mobile people have little time to find information. They will be impatient if you put offer slow-loading pictures or graphics or if they can’t figure out where to find information on your site in an instant. You don’t want too much downloading to happen before they can get to your information.

• Design for Finding Information Efficiently: Mobile viewers are often going for something specific, a function or bit of information from you. Rarely are they meandering or surfing the way someone might do on the desktop web. As you think about the most likely items that they will want to access from you in a mobile mode, you should consider putting those functions at the top of the site.

• Call to Action – Make it Easy: Most people read a mobile site from the top then scroll down to the bottom of the site, quickly. If you have a primary call-to-action, place this at both the top and bottom of the website. That way once they have scrolled to the bottom of the site, the key message you want to deliver is still in front of them.

• Design for Easy Interaction: Mobile devices have difficult input (tiny keys, small touch screen for example), so don’t make your visitors struggle. Click to Call or Click to SMS are great examples of making the site easy for viewers. Avoid convoluted paths to get to essential information (don’t nest pages of information unnecessarily). If you can manage it, don’t make them scroll down more than three times, this is a good rule of thumb when designing mobile.

• Help Your Customers Find Your Mobile Site: Use automatic detection and redirection code on your desktop site in order to ensure that when someone uses the better known URL (the desktop URL), it will automatically display the mobile site. Use a custom domain such as “” to better direct traffic to mobile. Use QR codes at every customer touch-point in order to direct traffic to your mobile site.

Things to Avoid

• Don’t Forget the Variations of Handsets: There are around 5,200 handsets in the world today. Consider how your design will work on screens from 2 inches to 5 inches. For example, don’t add side by side images because on some phones these will not appear as you intended – they may wrap and become misaligned.

• Don’t Use Heavy or Many Pictures: The journey of your mobile website to the viewers handset is a complex one. Consider carriers, hosting providers, browsers and operating systems, not to mention the actual hardware on the phone. To keep the display journey swift, don’t use a lot of heavy images. Some images are wonderful to keep that site interesting. Just be cautious.

• Don’t Wait: Your customers are expecting to find your brand on the mobile web today. There are many easy ways to get started. Like when your company built its very first website, there is tremendous learning that needs to occur by being mobile now. Build, test, iterate – then optimize your mobile web touchpoint.