Integrated action and experience codes within the pages of a magazine are just one of the many ways publishers are connecting print to digital. As the technology gets used more, publishers are identifying what works and what doesn’t.

Bonnier’s Popular Science launched PopSci Interactive, which affords users the ability to engage with the print product through a free app. Instead of driving users to a Web page with something like a QR code, the PopSci Interactive app allows users to see specific print content come to life, like a video or photo slideshow.

“Editorial is where we feel it’s important to have unique enhancements and we launched [the app] with some short videos,” says Steven Grune, vice president, group publisher, Bonnier Technology Group. “We alerted consumers to how to utilize their smart device to experience some enhanced editorial. That gave us some learnings that were very good.”

Grune says the app’s look on-page and the call-outs to audience were important in its success. After its soft launch in June the brand flagged the app on the cover of the magazine and included a full-page promotional table of contents that highlighted both the editorial and advertising that could be enhanced.

“There needs to be a comfort level for consumers in terms of understanding what the PopSci Interactive app means when it’s on an editorial or ad page,” he says. “The individuals who are going to utilize a device to enhance the experience with the print product are, in essence, your best and most engaged consumers because they want to know more about whatever topic you’re speaking to.”

Making it simple, adds Grune, heightens interaction. As of October 2012 Grune says total PopSci Interactive app downloads exceed 12,000 across iOS and Android platforms. Additionally, videos of both editorial and advertising content have been viewed more than 35,000 times.

Seamless Integration is Key
Shape uses a variety of action codes, and those that work seamlessly with a design mission work best when integrating this type of interactivity.

Using both editorial content and advertising promotions can help drive response rates while offering value to not just readers, but sponsored partners as well.

“Our sweepstakes scavenger hunt took place across our entire book, the codes appeared on both ad and edit pages,” says Anna Lisa Lopez, associate merchandizing director for Shape. “They are appearing throughout several pages versus just a one-off code on a promo page. They work, but when a reader has a purpose of looking for something and continuously flips for a repeated icon, that definitely drives engagement.”

For its 30th anniversary issue last December Shape garnered 400,000 entries from its interactive sweepstake based off 31 2D barcodes. The total number of readers participating was 60,690.

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