The Register’s John Lettice takes a look at Wired’s amazing success with its first iPad edition, and is (almost despite himself) impressed:
Apple takes a 30 per cent cut of an app’s cover price, so if we estimate that Wired will move 90,000 copies this month, Conde-Nast (the publishing company) is looking at sales revenue in the region of $300,000. The seriously large (around 500 megabytes) app is also chock-full of what one presumes is high-ticket advertising, and there’s an interesting innovation here – the clickability of Wired’s advertisements is restricted.
He goes on to point out how most of the ads in the app are basically glossy non- or semi-interactive versions of print ads. And he points out that this could be a partial return to the old days when half of everyone’s ad budgets were wasted, but they didn’t know which half:
Wired’s ads in the paper edition have traditionally been largely about branding, which is a class of ad that the web’s measurability had a murderous effect on. In the old days before you could ‘tell’ how effective your ads were, you largely thought/hoped they were working, and while you could probably figure out if they were having some kind of impact, you could never really tell which spending was effective and which wasted.
This was a happy situation for the ad agencies and the publishers, but possibly not so much for the advertisers. On the other hand, the web hasn’t necessarily been good for them either. It’s undermined their ability to get their brand in front of the right customers, and CTRs (click-through rates) are a doubtful measure of whether or not an ad is getting the desired results from the desired customers.
And that’s the point, surely. As Lettice points out, click-based advertising assumes a stop-start world in which I click on an ad to find something out, even if it disrupts what I’m doing. This type of brand-advertising has less friction and can, almost by definition, insert itself into premium media without disturbing said media too much. Even an ad-dense American magazine seems easier to read than a button-strewn newspaper website. Interesting.