The June issue of Islands Magazine features Microsoft’s Tag barcodes within the publication which, when scanned with a smartphone, enables readers to access four apps developed by Islands’ editors.
The cover features an app icon and URL for a Pictures app that is available exclusively in the Apple iTunes Store. It offers users a gallery of island photography, photo quizzes, and a photo feed of editors’ travels. The app is also promoted inside the magazine on the editor’s letter page, in a house ad and in a feature story.
The magazine also used Tags to unlock three free web-based apps: Islands Recipes, Islands Reader’s Choice and Islands Travel Guide: Dominican Republic. “For this particular issue, each of the three web apps organically fit as an extension of what was in the magazine,” Islands brand manager Chris Tauber says. “And re-purposing content or drawing on previous research was fairly efficient for us in each of these cases.”
The Recipes app is an extension of the magazine’s food column, the Reader’s Choice app builds off the issue’s “2010 Photo Contest” feature and the Travel Guide is an interactive connection to a feature story on the Dominican Republic.
“Response has exceeded expectations, with a solid rise in downloads for the Pictures app coming when we soft-launched it on Islands.com and Islands.com/Facebook,” says Tauber. “In terms of scans, the Recipes app is winning so far.”
Tauber says Islands so far isn’t charging for the Pictures app in Apple’s iTunes Store, but says it will experiment with different pricing models with future apps. “Right now we’re focusing on learning how to best use and execute them and gathering metrics that we can then share with clients,” he says.
The method by which Islands is making use of existing content and subject matter categories already found in the magazine makes perfect sense, as does their approach towards testing the use of Tags and the apps themselves.