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Starbucks bolsters mobile content push with Flipboard in-app ads

Starbucks continues to test different mobile advertising opportunities with a new campaign that mixes sponsored content and full-page ads into the Flipboard mobile application.

The new in-app campaign is part of Starbucks? ?Share Joy? multichannel holiday campaign and integrates into the Flipboard iPhone app. With marketers looking for different ways to deliver mobile ads, Starbucks is the latest to marry a mobile ad to pieces of editorial content. 

?The main point here is that when a brand embarks on a strategy like this, they should know the core demographic of the viewers, the cost per impression and then they can evaluate if this is a good opportunity to meet their marketing objectives,? said Cezar Kolodziej, CEO/president of Iris Mobile, Chicago.

Mr. Kolodziej is not affliated with Starbucks. He commented based on his expertise on the subject.

Starbucks did not respond to press enquiries. 

Sip on mobile
Starbucks is running full-page ads within the app with creative that reads, ?77+ Sparkling Holiday Ideas.?

Underneath, a call-to-action prompts consumers to check out a Starbucks-branded Flipboard magazine called ?The Happy Holiday Handbook.?

Clicking through on an ad leads users to the branded digital magazine. There are 33 pages of content within Starbucks? holiday-themed magazine.

Ads within Starbucks? magazine encourage consumers to find their favorite holiday drink flavor.

Consumers that click on the ads can visit Starbucks? holiday-themed microsite, where they can find a store, send gift cards or share a seasonal wish on a virtual wreath.

In addition to promoting its holiday microsite, the brand has partnered with several of Hearst Corp.?s publications, including Elle Décor and Harper?s Bazaar to create sponsored articles.

For example, one of the sponsored articles from Elle Décor?s mobile site is titled, ?Pay it forward: 5 ways to give back this winter.? The top of the article clearly indicates that the content is sponsored by Starbucks.

Jolt of mobile
Starbucks has been a company to watch in the mobile space for quite some time.

Earlier this year, the brand announced that 10 percent of its revenue comes from its popular mobile payment app (see story).

Additionally, Starbucks was the first brand to team up with Twitter on a social commerce-enabled tweet-to-buy program (see story). 

Mobile advertising has also been a big priority for Starbucks, and the brand has tested a number of new ad formats and technologies.

In this case, curating a digital magazine is an interesting way for Starbucks to push branded content to consumers that are already reading through articles from their favorite publications.

Flipboard has also been working closely with new ways to tie brands into the news reading experience. 

For example, Banana Republic, eBay were among some of the first brands to roll out shoppable content that lets consumers buy straight from the pages of the digital magazine (see story). 

?As the number of users increase, and certain apps have more traffic than others, we are already seeing growth in in-app advertising,? Mr. Kolodziej said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York