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Canada's largest magazine publisher uses push for mobile

Rogers Publishing's extension from traditional print to mobile has given the Canadian publisher some insight into the habits of mobile readers. Key finding: premium content is most attractive.

Using Polar Mobile's technology, Rogers Publishing in January created mobile editions of Maclean's at and Canadian Business magazine at The applications for Canada's largest magazine publisher are downloadable on Web-enabled mobile phones.

"It is important to put thought into what content is pushed to consumers," said Gaurav Jain, vice president of business development at Polar Mobile, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. "It has to be timely, lightweight and sticky. Simply replicating what's on print or online is not a good idea."

The mobile version of the magazines has push-publishing capabilities.

With push-publishing, articles are automatically delivered to the user's handset.

In fact, Polar Mobile's analytics have shown that the application receives the highest uptake in readership right after articles are pushed, demonstrating the immediacy of the mobile platform.

Once pushed, articles are stored offline, resulting in no load time.

Users can access the content anywhere - on the subway or an airplane - without needing a live mobile signal.

The mobile application is offered to consumers for free and requires a one-time download from Web-enabled mobile phones.

Canadian Business is the country's largest circulating business magazine, with a rate base of 81,266 for 22 issues per year. The magazine is 80 years old.

The weekly Maclean's is Canada's leading current affairs title, with a circulation of 356,165 for 47 issues per year. The magazine was founded in 1905.

Rogers Publishing relies on mobile advertisements as its main source of revenue.

Advertising on Polar Mobile's platform comprises a banner image. Users can click on it and perform operations such as call the advertiser, receive information by email and view details on a mobile Web site.

Advertiser Simply Audiobooks offered a two-week free trial if readers presented the promotional code that appeared in the mobile banner ads.

In the last two months, the advertising campaign attracted a conversion rate of more than 2 percent via calls to Simply Audiobooks' call center and visits to the site from the application.

Rogers Publishing also saw usage of their mobile magazines, with 10,000 downloads and 250,000 ad impressions per month.

The application saw a high propensity for users to use click to call to sign up for a free promotional trial.

There was also high usage of viral features, send article to friend and invite a friend to the application because of address book integration.

The mobile application saw high usage of the Send Author Feedback function as well.

"People tend to read the content right after it is pushed, hence we push more often but less content each time," Mr. Jain said.

"Advertisers prefer Mobile Marketing Association-standard banner ads," he said. "It is important to comply with standards to make it easy for brands to advertise on mobile."

Premium content presented in an easy-to-read fashion, anytime, anywhere, results in a very engaged audience, it would seem: Canadian Business and Maclean's readers spend an average of more than 30 minutes each month in the application, Mr. Jain claims.

"A lot of publishers don't have a mobile strategy for effective delivery of content -- they are missing out on a completely new distribution channel and revenue stream," Mr. Jain said.

"Publishers need to leverage mobile to make more money off of existing content, but having a mere presence will not create revenue," he said.

"Driving user adoption is not easy. You need to leverage multiple marketing channels and properly position the product to give users a reason to download the application."