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National magazines are adopting mobile action codes at ever increasing rates, and it appears with good reason, according to new research from Nellymoser. Looking over 12 months at 7 titles that used its Companion App to both create the magazine’s mobile application with scanner and the campaigns that were scanned in the magazine, the company found the median response rate to be 4.5-5.9%, with visitors keeping the app open for about an average of 10 minutes.

The average response rate, weighted by circulation and removing the highest and lowest scores, was 6.4%.

Visitors Return, View Several Pages

On top of their strong response rates, the mobile action codes proved highly engaging. During the average 10 minutes that an app was open, visitors viewed roughly 19 mobile pages, though there was a significant range among the titles, from 2.6 to 62.9.

Another measure of engagement is the number of visits per visitor, and there was relatively more parity on this metric. After their initial visit to a Companion App, visitors returned 1.4 more times, putting the average number of visits per visitor at 2.4. This ranged from 2.1 on the low end to 9 on the high end.

Number of Scannable Codes Influences Response Rates

The report identifies several factors influencing the response rate. Chief among those is the total number of scannable codes, with the greater amount of codes raising the scan opportunities on account of increased visibility. Also influencing the results were the rewards offered for scanning, with discounts, coupons, and sweepstakes having the most positive effect.

Response Rate Beats Other Printed Forms

The median response rate compares favorably to other forms of direct marketing. Nellymoser’s study puts that 4.5-5.9% median rate side-by-side with response rates published by the DMA in a June report, with the magazine mobile action codes coming out on top, ahead of other printed forms such as direct mail (overall – 4.4%), catalog (4.3%), and direct mail (letter – 3.4%).

While it’s too soon to draw definitive conclusions from the study (as it was limited to 7 titles and use of Nellymoser’s Companion App), the results do suggest that the greater adoption of mobile action codes by magazine advertisers is results-based. Nellymoser plans to update the study frequently to identify trends.

About the Data: The response rate was calculated by dividing the number of unique visitors who scanned any code in the magazine by the magazine’s circulation, adjusted for those who own smartphones. The circulation number is from the Audit Bureau of Control (ABC) for 2012.

The smartphone adjustment is the percentage of people who have read a magazine within the past 6 months who also own a smartphone (44.6%), from a survey by GfK MRI in the Spring of 2012 and released by the MPA, Magazine Publishers Association.

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