Two hot topics struck me this week, which I thought I would share. One concerning how interactive advertising is now making an impact, and the other on the rise and rise (still!) of text messaging.

Firstly, interactive ads.

It’s a compelling story where, as an industry, we’ve seen digital advertising suffering from “brand burnout” when digital ads are not changed frequently enough and readers, in effect, get bored of seeing the same “flat” print ads repurposed for a tablet or mobile phone. In a space where interactivity is king, this is not meeting expectations and can be damaging for both advertiser and newspaper.

Many advertisers are indeed still re-purposing print ads for digital editions of print publications. Those that choose to include interactive elements (or create new ads with interactive features) are now seeing a big payoff in terms of reader engagement and brand perception.

This is according to new findings from Affinity Research in the magazine industry, where they track consumption of digital magazines on iPads and other mobile devices.

Affinity measured reader response to a variety of interactive digital ad formats on mobile devices, including sponsored videos, photo galleries and 3-D product views.

Of the readers who tapped on the screen to interact with sponsored videos,

  • 88% said they enjoyed the experience.

  • 87% said it enhanced the magazine reading experience.

  • 88% said they learned more about the product.

  • 89% now view the brand as “innovative” as a result.

With photo galleries, 92% said they enjoyed the experience, and for 3-D views, 93% said the same.

Ninety-two percent said it enhanced their magazine experience, 91% said they learned more about the product, and 92% said they viewed the brand as innovative as a result.

Publishers have been keen to introduce digital editions of magazines suitable for tablets and e-readers, and there are lessons for the newspaper industry here in convincing our advertisers to “keep it fresh.” Whilst recognising there are cost implications to producing a carousel of digital ads and including interactive elements as well, we finally have some ammunition to show that maybe it’s worth the investment.

The second hot topic came from reading that 18- to 24-year-olds average 110 text messages per day.

A new Pew Internet study (USA) looked at the texting habits of mobile phone owners. The findings show that of the 83% of adults who own mobile phones, roughly 73% of them send text messages and about 31% of them prefer texting to actually talking on their phone.

The killer stat however was that mobile phone owners between the ages of 18 and 24 exchange an amazing 109.5 text messages per day (that’s 3,200 per month!). If we want to communicate with a younger audience then maybe this is one way to achieve it?

We think sometimes that texting is an old technology. It’s still massive. Remember that when considering using it as part of your marketing efforts or your added value services to your advertisers.

Here at the Telegraph in London, we have an older audience, but an audience who like any age group, understands texting. You don’t need to explain what to do…everyone understands short-codes, and for us, we can start to engage parts of our audience who are well versed in using a mobile for basic functions and text is one of them. An introduction, if you like, to an interactive world and feel they have a direct line to us.

So, we have now started engaging some of our audiences with text. Whilst in some cases it is indeed the first time they have communicated with us directly, in others, it’s an alternative, more convenient way to express their views to the editor, comment on a story/feature or enter a competition. Henal Patel, Telegraph’s mobile services manager says “What text offers our readers is a real time option to make their point or express an opinion. Additionally, it is a service we can offer to advertisers to bolt on to a campaign, allowing them to capture data and integrate or even commence into a main stream CRM platform.”

She adds, “Of course, if captured/opted in correctly, we can also use the data for ongoing marketing of our own or commercialise it with our clients and advertisers, offering a targeted, direct response mechanism like no other channel for immediacy and high response rates.”

So now you know!