Martha Stewart Living app strategy discussed at FIPP Digital Newsstand Forum

Ruth Feldman, international editorial director, Martha Stewart Living, USA, explained the three principles of the brand’s content strategy today (15 May) at FIPP’s Digital Newsstand Forum in Bangkok, Thailand.
The Martha Stewart Living app was one of the first to hit the iOS App Store, and lots of work has been done since to refine and ensure readers are engaging and having a good experience.
The brand’s first principle is to captivate readers. “We knew that transferring the brand from a print product to a screen would provide a different reading experience, so we worked with typographers to make sure this was addressed, and adapted for digital readers. As we developed new design standards on the iPad, we grappled with many challenges, learned how to use new tools, worked closely with Adobe on DPS (which was a new tool at the time) to work out how to give our readers the best experience.”
Feldman said the tablet edition enhances and brings the magazine’s content to life, but the level of interactivity has varied while the company tests engagement levels. “We have experimented with animation to create a dynamic experience, with bells and whistles including videos and animation, but there was a problem – content development is expensive and labour intensive.”
She continued: “How could we equal impact on readers in an economically sound way? We studied reader statistics, and discovered that readers wanted more of an experience within the app, for example shopping, learning, deep information, beyond what the print edition was giving them.” As a result of this, the brand changed the reader experience on the app, cut back on animation, and added more content as opposed to an enhanced visual experience. “We discovered that our readers want practical information, rather than bells and whistles,” said Feldman. Martha Stewart also works closely with its advertising partners in order to create marketing and ad campaigns, which give “richer advertising experiences.”
Another new change has occurred whereby readers are able to share content with others via social media. “This type of sharing is great for people who haven’t yet committed to a tablet, and gives them a taste of what the experience could be, and it’s helped improve subscription sales,” said Feldman.
As a result of the amendments made to the tablet edition, Feldman said the company are seeing positive results: “We’ve seen significant growth in our digital circulation. Our digital reader is younger, more affluent and more satisfied, they renew at a higher rate,” she said.

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