Print impact with digital interactivity
Flipboard, which bills itself as a digital “social magazine,” does not claim to be a leader in journalism. It is not a journal at all, in fact—it culls its content from publications like Vanity Fair and The Guardian. But it is the first to add audio to its digital magazine. And yes, it takes advertising, but only via its publishing partners.
The newest edition of Flipboard (available as an app for iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch) can now listen to audio shared on Soundcloud and radio programming from National Public Radio (NPR) and Public Radio International (PRI). The new “Audio” category has been added to Flipboard’s Content Guide, and offers segments from shows such as Fresh Air and PRIʼs The World, just as it offers articles from magazines.
“Audio could keep users ‘flipping’ a lot longer,” suggests Andrew Phelps of the Niemen Journalism Lab. NPR found that the users of its mobile apps who listen to audio also consumer more articles: Audio listeners conducted 4.2 pageviews per visit versus 2.4 for the text-only readers. “It makes sense: Audio is the perfect multitasking medium,” wrote Phelps.
At present, Flipboard does not sell advertising directly: Rather, it partners with publishers like Conde Nast, and a team from Flipboard works with the publishers to select ads and optimize them for the platform. So Converse, which currently has a print ad in Details, buys its Flipboard ad from Details. Better still, the ads are optimized for the platform and are interactive. As Adweek describes, “Users can see a display ad that mimics the print version, click on it, and interact with a brand's existing content in a way that is pleasing to the eyes.” So Converse enjoys several million possible exposures. (Flipboard claims 8 million downloads in January alone.)
Flipboard has yet to release an Android app but plans to do so in the customary “near future.”