"If you sit someone down with a magazine, within seconds they're
researching the products that they could buy," Ms. Miller said. "If
they see a snowboard in a snowboarding magazine, they'll bounce
over to Amazon to check the prices on it."
The study, from Bonnier and ad agency CP&B, reflects
findings from 15 focus groups in three cities that were designed to
include heavy print magazine readers, heavy iPad users and heavy
consumers of magazine content on the web. Next Bonnier and CP&B
will try to apply the results to developing new ad formats for
tablets. A pilot series of these ads will appear in the Popular
Science iPad app late this spring.
It's already apparent that the study has implications for
magazines. Publishers have been telling advertisers that their iPad
editions combine print's ability to engross readers with digital
media's interactivity. The way publishers have been building their
apps, however, now seems to have given interactivity the upper
That might be a good thing. People want to use digital magazines
as "exploration springboards" and don't like content that seems
like a dead end, the study found. And marketers will obviously be
happy if iPad editions trigger a lot of shopping. But it also
implies that publishers need to think about their goals for the
iPad edition and how to get readers back once they've bounced off
to Amazon or elsewhere.
"We wanted to figure out ways to make it possible and make it
attractive for people to come back to the magazine content again
and again," Ms. Miller said. "And we wanted to find reasons to get
people to have more touchpoints with magazine content. And we
wanted to find a way to make ads more interesting. So we did this
study to dig in deeply and find out what exactly are the activities
people have with magazines, how they interact with online magazine
content vs. magazines on a tablet vs. a print magazine."
People often mistake editorial screens in iPad editions for ads,
the Bonnier and CP&B study also found. "It was really strange,"
Ms. Miller said. "When there was a full-bleed whole page dedicated
to a product, people said, 'Yeah, that's an ad.' And we selected
people who were from an educated demographic. They were not
dummies. So we realized that we need to do something to make it
And unlike a Kindle, which can "drop away" from readers' minds
as an e-book takes center stage, iPad users seem to always be
aware, perhaps first and foremost, that they're using the device.
People in the study said they weren't "reading," "playing" or
"surfing"; they were just using an iPad.
The decisions that lead to reading a magazine's iPad edition,
moreover, are very different than the decisions that lead to
reading a print edition. People traditionally pick up magazines'
print editions for a specific purpose. But they often pick up an
iPad with "iPadding" in mind and only then decide what to do with