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This Old House builds sweepstakes entries through Microsoft Tags

Time Inc.'s This Old House is raising the bar this year with its annual ?The Great TOH Giveaway? sweepstakes that features Microsoft Tags and entices readers to scan them by offering prizes.

The This Old House August issue is packed with Microsoft Tags to let users enter the publication?s annual ?The Great TOH Giveaway? sweepstakes. This marks the third time that This Old House has Microsoft Tags in a print issue as a method to drive sweepstakes entries.

?We have a very tech-savvy readership, which outpaces the general population in smartphone adoption, and they?re no strangers to our own multimedia efforts,? said Scott Omelianuk, editor in chief of This Old House, New York.

?We?ve trained them for a long time to take advantage of our other platforms ? our TV shows and our Web site and its galleries, and how-to and video,? he said. ?And so from the start we got very good response rates to the tags.?

?Not just tags associated with the contest, either, but those that link to additional editorial content or to the trailers for the season premiere of our TV shows or to the tags that direct people to additional information or benefits from our advertisers. While the contest marks their big moment, tags are present in every issue.?

Scan to win
This Old House claims that users can enter to win 325 prizes in its August issues. The total amount of prizes is $460,974.

Users can enter once a day to increase their odds of winning.

The Microsoft Tags are scattered throughout the publication, including a spread that shows readers how the sweepstakes works and how to enter.

When users snap the tags, they are taken to a mobile landing page that displays the products on that particular page that they can enter to win. From there, consumers can enter their email address and fill out a form to win.

The site also prompts users to buy a subscription, which is a great way for publishers to boost subscription numbers.

Additionally, readers can enter to win through the site, which is optimized for mobile devices. By entering on the mobile site users are automatically entered to win all of the sweepstakes? prizes and can then sort through which ones they are interested in.

The sweepstakes is running through Aug. 31.

Mobile readers
Last year, This Old House used Microsoft Tags in a similar way. However, the prize pack was worth $178,309 and included products from 42 home-improvement manufacturers.

Last year?s campaign also resulted in 234,000 mobile bar code scans (see story).

Consumers increasingly have their smartphones and tablets with them while reading their favorite magazines. Therefore, giving them an option to use both helps take the reading experience to another level.

To meet this demand, publishers have ramped up their mobile initiatives, particularly with mobile bar codes.

For example, a recent study from Nellymoser found that 10 percent of magazine ad pages contained a mobile bar code or activation in the second quarter of 2012, marking an increase from 5 percent in 2011.

Additionally, four industries ? including home ? accounted for 49 percent of mobile action codes that appeared in top magazines during the second quarter. The other industries were beauty, health and automotive (see story).

?Mobile is important to us. We were the first brand in our division at Time Inc. to have a mobile Web site and we?re proud of that ? it helped us make the Great TOH Giveaway such a juggernaut,? Mr. Omelianuk said.

?But really we view mobile as a long-term strategy,? he said. ?People are increasingly cutting the cord on their desktop machines ? we already see that happening with our mobile traffic higher on weekends when people are out and about.?

?Imagine how useful it?ll be to a consumer when she?s in the home center and a little fuzzy on some how-to project, and all she has to do to learn the basics is scan a tag and watch one of our instructional videos. And maybe that video is served with a point-of-purchase discount from a sponsor. That?ll be great ? useful content whenever, wherever the consumer wants it. That?s a killer business strategy.?

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