PUBLISHER BRINGS DIGITAL SHOPPING TO ITS MAGAZINES
By Tanzina Vega, the New York Times
NEW YORK – JUNE 12, 2011- The photos and quizzes in Hearst's online magazines are about to get a digital upgrade.
On Monday, Hearst Magazines Digital Media will announce two new features for its online publications that will make it easier for readers to buy the products they see on the page. Kristine Welker, chief revenue officer for Hearst Digital, said the publication wants its magazines to be a “shoppable experience” for users.
One partnership with Pixazza, a Mountain View, Calif., company that makes images interactive, will allow readers to click on photos and get more information about the products featured in the image. The first brand to use the technology will be Glidden Paint, an Akzo Nobel Paints brand.
Users who visit the Web site for House Beautiful will be able to scroll over the images in photo galleries on the site and see a selection of paint colors similar to the ones in the photo, the name of the paint color they saw in the photo and the paint's price. From there, users will be able to go the brand's Web site and, perhaps, make a purchase.
“We look for those marketing opportunities that are disruptive, unexpected and true to the brand voice,” said Rob Horton, vice president for marketing for Akzo Nobel Paints in an e-mail. “At the same time, though, any advertising medium must work toward getting do-it-yourselfers going by moving them from inspiration to action.”
Hearst began testing the technology with Redbook on redbookmag.com, where users could click on photos of models wearing various outfits to learn more about the items the model was wearing. “Why drive them somewhere else to make a purchase?” Ms. Welker said.
Hearst will also announce the next phase of their partnership with Buddy Media, a company that helps brands build and manage their Facebook applications. The new digital applications, called “sapplets” or social media applications, will let consumers engage with multiple publications and brands in three new ways.
Users will be able to vote on multimedia content like videos, take personality quizzes that will recommend products to them based on the quiz results, and earn badges for doing things like posting a comment on an advertiser's page. Hearst expects the feature to be introduced to all of its digital magazine properties over the next few months, including Marie Claire, Good Housekeeping and Seventeen.