Introducing the next step for digital publications – the interactive brochure

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Introducing the next step for digital publications – the interactive brochure

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InDesign's In5 has opened up a world of exciting possibilities for digital magazines. Now magazines can be transformed into dynamic web and mobile experiences rather than simply a boring, static PDF viewed on a digital screen. Here we explain how…

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digital interactive brochure

Introducing interactive brochures…

In the beginning was the word.
Followed by the book. And then, the printed magazine.
Then the internet came along, enabling publishers to push content to the web and allowing magazines to be easily accessed and read online.

The next development in magazine publishing was in the widespread use of digital devices. These have enabled online publications to be easily accessed and viewed remotely.

But, whilst technology has moved on, the vast majority of digital publications are still designed & created to mirror the printed version. The publication is simply presented as a static (downloaded or hosted) PDF version of the printed magazine and simply viewed on a digital screen.

But, there has to be another way. With global wifi access providing us with ‘always on’ connectivity, there is no real need for most online publications to be static PDFs.

What if the publication can be truly digital and come to life?? If a magazine could be truly digital, the future possibilities for the publisher, advertiser and reader experience are endless.

Introducing the next step in digital magazine publishing – the interactive brochure.

Before we discuss the next stage in digital publications, let’s first acknowledge that publishers still tend to treat the digital reader the same way as they treat the print reader.
The digital magazine tends to look just like the printed magazine. Same page layout, same content, etc. But, to move forward in digital publishing, the publisher needs to recognise the six core differences between the printed magazine and digital magazine:

  1. Loyalty
    There is so much more competition in the digital space with too many alternative websites & associated resources to look at. Moreover, they’re too easy to access. As such, a reader’s loyalty to a digital publication is much weaker than a printed publication.
    To prove this point, imagine a beach holiday. Those on sunbeds reading a printed magazine are more likely to read more of the magazine in one sitting than those viewing on a tablet with so many other options, apps, games just one simple swipe away.
  2. Retention
    Because printed publications are physical things, the consumer retains them for longer. Kept on a shelf, bookcase or coffee table, these appear to have more ‘value’ to the consumer than a digital publication.
    Of course, the digital publication will still be accessible online for many years long after the printed version has deteriorated, but are just not as respected as a tangible version.
  3. Data
    As with all marketing, data is king!
    With printed publications, there is hardly any useful metrics other than number of sales. But, you cannot tell who, when & where someone is reading it. Nor how many are reading it at any one time.
    The digital publication can do all that and more. Like a website’s analytics, it can provide information regarding what device a publication is being viewed upon, how long someone spends on a page or a specific article, where they visit after reading it.
    To the publishing marketer, this is the holy grail.
  4. Responsivity
    Whilst printed books and magazines come in various sizes, the digital viewer sees all publications via the screen size of the device they are viewing.
    Moreover, consumers have more than one device and it is the case that, the smaller the size or shape of screen, the more difficult it has become to read the publication.
    Of course, there is no reason why magazines cannot be designed to be ‘responsive’ and easy to view – just like websites are – it’s just that it hasn’t happened. Yet!
  5. Content
    Within a printed publication, the reader can only view what is in there. And whilst that’s still the case with a digital publication, there is no reason why it needs to be.
    Obviously, on-page hyperlinking can lead the reader to related or alternative information. But, if the magazine was created like a website, then content can be unlimited. Videos running on the page (as opposed to a hyperlink to YouTube), animated content, dynamic pop ups.
    Being able to utilise more engaging content is the publisher’s dream.
  6. Advertising
    Magazine advertisements have traditionally worked the same way for years: Only set sizes allowed. Larger adverts being valued at a higher rate than smaller ones. Prime position slots such as the back page, inside cover or a right-hander demanding a premium price.
    It has been done this way because of the way consumers read the publication.
    However, digital publications are read differently. Here, the reader can be directed straight to an article, thereby skipping past paid-for advertising. And, as mentioned earlier, there is no loyalty for cover-to-cover reading.
    And whilst less viewers of an advert is bad news for the advertiser, it is up to the digital publisher to do more to increase the ‘value’ of an advert.

So now, let’s look at the future of digital magazines? just being viewed on a digital screen is no longer enough. We now have the ability to create interactive brochures and magazines.

Imagine a world in which a magazine has been designed to work perfectly for the device it is viewed upon. Where content is readable without zooming in (or getting eye strain). Where the design is responsive for all device sizes and orientations.

Imagine the world where static images are replaced by dynamic video. Where on-page content updates before your eyes. Where advertising is more interactive and can provide more information than the space of the advert allows. Where analytics provides in depth detail regarding the readers’ activity.

This is no longer the domain of Harry Potter and The Daily Prophet. This is the domain of InDesign In5 – a way to help transform a publication into dynamic web and mobile experiences.

If you would like to see some examples of interactive brochures or are just interested to learn more about this exciting new development and how this could leverage your own brochure marketing, please contact us now.

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