Identify your Audience and Gain Reader Insights with Interactive Print

Gone are the days when print publishers couldn’t collect data about who’s reading their work. With interactive print, they’re gaining insightful data about their readers and audiences. Learn how you can do it too.

According to PWC, by 2022 newspaper advertising revenues will fall by $4 Billion. Revenues will reduce from 16 Billion dollars to 12.2 Billion dollars. Meanwhile, Digital advertising will grow to a mammoth 116 Billion dollars!

In mature markets, Digital advertising revenue spend has already overtaken Print advertising. Developing markets like India are following suit. Analytics firm Statista reports that Indian digital ad spending will exceed that of print by 2022!

What are the major forces driving this change?

Advertisers aim for precise targeting of their message. Accurate information about the audience is essential for high precision ad targeting. Modern advertisers need demographic information on their audience. They want to know how well the audience is engaging with their ads. They want to know which regions their ads perform the best in.

Digital ad platforms provide a comprehensive database of audience information to advertisers. This helps in precise targeting of advertising messages to specific, relevant audience. Digital Ad Platforms are able to deliver high value and Return on Investment (ROI) on ad campaigns.

Print advertising is usually unable to provide audience information with similar precision. This makes precise ad targeting difficult. So advertisers are rapidly switching to digital advertising.

Here are some reasons Print publishers cannot provide accurate information about their readership.

Research conducted by External Organisations

Research on publications’ readership is usually conducted by External organisations. Indian Readership Survey is the leading annual readership research conducted in India. Such research projects are usually conducted by Auditing bodies or Market Research Agencies.

Auditing provides limited insight into the actual readership figures. For Market Research Agencies, the interests of the publisher are not important. Selling the research results is the primary motive. Thus such research provides limited data at best, and skewed data at worst.

Further, readership research projects often include many publications. These publications are diverse in their geographical, economic and linguistic target demographic. The data collected is common to all publications. The survey might not collect data on metrics important to a publication.

Finally, agencies usually publish only the aggregated research and analysis. Raw data is often not made available to publishers or the public. The publisher can’t access or analyze the raw data any further.

Raw data can help publishers make better content, design and advertising decisions.

High cost of research

Readership research projects are conducted at a region or nationwide level. The timelines range from months, to often years. These projects involve thousands of interviewers and hundreds of thousands of subjects. The cost of these research projects runs into Millions of dollars. Publications often cannot justify the ROI associated with high research expenditure.

Standard research and data collection methods were developed before the Internet or Smartphones. Agencies today often collect data via the Internet. But the underlying philosophy has not changed. As a result, the associated costs of data collection can be high.

Cheaper research methods can save Publishers a lot of money. Publishers can pass on these savings to advertisers and readers. This could increase both ad revenue and print circulation. It also impacts the financial bottom line of the publication.

Old and outdated research methods

Methods of research and compiling information haven’t changed much in several decades. Research still involves visiting individual households, interviewing them and compiling the results. GPS location capture, audio recordings and computer aided interviews are often used. However, these features are a mere addition to old research methods.

These research methods haven’t adapted to the changing relationship between media and readers. The modern reader doesn’t only consume information, he engages with it. In an ideal world, research would focus on engagement, both online and offline. For an effective change, we need to revamp the research philosophy.

With updated research methods, publishers can better understand their readers’ choices. They could create better content for higher reader engagement. This in turn would increase advertising ROI and revenue.

Statistical significance of research results

For large scale research projects, statistically significant results are a standard requirement. These results are drawn on data collected for all publications.

Publishers may need statistically significant data on metrics that are specific to them. Traditional reader research has no answer for such publishers. Metrics not common to all publications are not studied. If they are, the data obtained isn’t specific enough to be useful to an individual publisher.

With statistically significant specific metrics data, publishers can understand their readers better. They can provide better insights and value to advertisers, in return for more revenue.

Reader engagement information at Page, Article, Section level

As discussed above, different publishers have different metrics of success. For an entertainment magazine, reach is a useful metric. For a trade show magazine, time spent per article may be more important. For a trade publication, time spent engaging with advertisements may be more important. Publishers might need engagement data for different sections, pages and advertisement types.

Typical research reports cannot deliver such fine grained data. With this data, publishers can optimise their content for engagement. With high engagement, they can deliver higher value to advertisers.

Interruptive Nature of Research

Traditional research methods are interruptive in nature. Researchers visit a household and interview the subjects. This interrupts the subjects’ day to day routine, and has a potential to bias the responses. Further, less agreeable readers would refuse to be a part of interviews. On a long enough timeline, research tends to focus on agreeable readers with free time on their hands. Do advertisers want an agreeable, disengaged audience, with a lot of time to waste?

Today, consuming and curating information has become very easy for the consumers. Readers are actively engaging with the content with Article comments and Social Media. Interruptive methods of research fail to leverage this change.

Research methods focused on engaged readers would provide the best data. Advertisers want higher ad engagement and reader responses. With this data, Publishers can charge advertisers a premium for more engaged readers.

Interactive Print

Interactive Print is a novel way for readers to engage with printed content. Interactive Print often uses a smartphone application to interact with printed content. The application can deliver interactive, immersive, dynamic content to the readers. Interactive Print can deliver text, images, video, 3D content, dynamic links and text.

QR codes were an early implementation of Interactive Print. With powerful smartphones and Augmented Reality, the print content itself can become interactive. There is no need to scan a separate code . Users can scan an ad with their smartphone to access more information about the products.

Many publishers are launching their own mobile apps. Interactive Print is an invaluable tool for them to understand their audience. Interactive Print can provide the publisher with accurate data on reader engagement.

Here is how Interactive Print solves the above problems.

Research conducted by External Organisations

Interactive Print can be integrated with a publisher’s mobile apps. Publishers can get complete access to their readers’ data. They collect, store and own this data. They can process and use this data further as they see fit.

Publishers can also track metrics and information relevant to them. Customised data collection and raw data access can take research to the next level.

High cost of Research

Conducting a nationwide research campaign is quite hard, with annual recurring costs. Creating a new Interactive Print application is cheaper, faster and way more convenient. Interactive Print features can integrate into a publisher’s existing mobile applications. The time and cost of adopting Interactive Print is thus far cheaper.

Once the application is set up, ongoing data collection is very cheap. Interactive Print has very low recurring costs.

Old and outdated research methods

The reader experience takes a front seat with Interactive Print. Interactive Print mobile apps are not designed as a tool for research questions. Users aren’t put through interviews or questionnaires. Data collection is implicit, through advertising ID, social media, usage and location statistics.

With proper user consent, data collection becomes an easy, breezy process for everyone. Best of all, data collection turns into a passive process from an active process. The result is a reader who is free to engage with content, driving readership and ad revenues.

Statistical Significance of research results

A sample size of 30 is the magic number for statistical significance. For small sized publications, 30 engaged readers’ data is enough for meaningful inferences.

Using Interactive Print, publications can deliver targeted content and collect reader data. They can collect information on reader demographics, location, device and other metrics. They can derive statistically significant conclusions and produce robust research results.

Reader engagement information at Page, Article, Section Level

Interactive Print can deliver unique content for each Page, Article, Section or Ad. Separate data is available for each of these avenues. This allows the Publisher to gauge reader engagement at a monumental precision.

Publishers can access user data at page, article, advertisement and section level. Publishers can make intelligent choices about content to boost publication sales and engagement. Ad engagement statistics can drive higher ad revenues and open new monetization avenues.

Interruptive nature of research

Interactive Print does not interrupt the reader for his attention. The Interactive Print content triggers a response and engagement from the reader. Hence, data collection is not initiated by a researcher, but by the reader himself.

Thus, Interactive Print delivers data from willing, engaging users. Advertisers covet an engaged audience to market to, and so do Publishers.


Interactive Print can provide publishers with a phenomenal amount of data. Interactive Print solves the major problems associated with traditional readership research methods.

Research methods and procedures are initiated by the reader. Publishers can gain fine grained data on reader engagement. They can derive statistically significant conclusions on this data. Finally, they can use this data to boost engagement and ad revenues. All this happens on data and infrastructure they own.

We at WOWSOME are industry leaders in Interactive Print products for publishers. We have delivered more than 700 Interactive Print campaigns, with leading publishers like The Hindu. Get in touch with us to know more about Interactive Print, and we will transform your publication.
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