Condé Nast: How to Build Better Ads for Our Apps

The results of a new Condé Nast survey suggest that ads for the publishing titan’s iPad apps need to be explicit on how to engage with them. Condé will be presenting its findings to marketing higher-ups today.

Jason Schwartzman New Yorker iPad app commercial


Condé Nast has been carefully studying the use of its iPad apps, and will host 70 marketing and media execs today in New York to present its findings, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The publisher has dived headlong into the iPad market, getting Jason Schwartzman to shill for its New Yorker app upon its debut, and developing doodad-augmented apps for Wired and GQ. But one of the intriguing findings of Condé Nast’s study is that many users aren’t fully grasping the augmented features of the iPad apps.

Through a 5,000-person survey and extended interview process, Condé determined that since the iPad has appealed to people who are not typically early adopters of new technologies, ads might be more effective if they are very explicit about how to interact with them. It’s an image that surely will cause gasps among marketers: a tech-challenged CEO flaunting his iPad as a status symbol on his next Acela ride, yet woefully unaware that tapping on that ad for a luxury good could take him straight to an online store.

“It has very big implications for how editors and designers design apps and how agencies design ads,” Scott McDonald, Condé’s Senior Vice President of Market Research, said.

Condé Nast may have figured out how to make money from advertisers, but how about from users? The Italian news site Il Post recently enlisted the help of some hackers to show how easy it was to exploit weaknesses to download some iPad apps for free. A Huffington Post contributor got wind of it, and tried the trick on Condé’s New Yorker and Wired apps. It didn’t even require much hacking expertise; it boiled down to altering a single field from “purchaseable” to “viewable.”

Of course, as the music industry has recently shown, advertising dollars are piracy-proof. But assuming it doesn’t want piracy to become rampant, a bit more robust security for Condé Nast’s iPad apps probably wouldn’t be a bad idea.


[Image: Flicker user anniemole]

About the author

David Zax is a contributing writer for Fast Company. His writing has appeared in many publications, including Smithsonian, Slate, Wired, and The Wall Street Journal.