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HGTV Magazine, Fiat make static pages shoppable via watermarks

HGTV Magazine will be making its Fiat-sponsored “High/Low List” feature shoppable and shareable by adding a digital watermark to its November issue.

The nine-page feature will include a small image with copy encouraging readers to scan the page using Digimarc’s mobile application. The landing page will allow consumers to purchase the items in the feature as well as share them on social media.

“This Digimarc enhancement offers a valuable service to readers,” said Kate English, executive director of integrated marketing for HGTV Magazine, New York.

“It makes it seamless and simple for them to purchase the products they love straight from our pages and/or share their favorite featured items with their social networks with just a few quick taps on their smartphone,” she said. “Whenever we extend the print experience off the page, our go-to-market strategy is to provide a service that is of value to both sponsors and consumers.

“This technology quickly connects readers to the products featured in ‘the super-duper high/low list’ section.”

High/low shopping
HGTV Magazine’s high/low list showcases high-end products as well as their more affordable lookalikes.

The Digimarc Share feature is designed to help readers make an actual purchase, so it made sense for HGTV Magazine to make them actually shoppable with Digimarc’s watermarking.

At the bottom of the page, there is a Digimark icon accompanied by copy that says “Shop this story” and explains that readers can download the Digimarc Discover app to scan the item they are interested in purchasing.

Once consumers scans a specific product in the High/low list, they will be directed to a Fiat-sponsored landing page that lets them purchase it or share it on Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest.

Adding the watermarking to print pages allows publishers to bridge the gap between browsing and purchase. It cuts out the additional steps it would have taken for a reader to convert by giving them an easy and immediate way to act.

This makes an ideal scenario for both readers and marketers. Readers can easily buy the products, and marketers will know that their ads will be that much more fruitful.

According to Damon Knight, senior marketing and communications manager for Digimarc, Beaverton OR, watermarks are also beneficial because it allows publishers and marketers to learn key data and metrics from print magazines. Just as they can see how many people click through an ad online, they will be able to see who scans a page to shop or share.

Mobile print
Mobile solutions like watermarking let publishers provide readers with extra, exclusive content.

“A lot of the magazines are coming out with digital versions of their magazines, and when they do that they’ll provide videos and social media or additional stories or photo galleries,” Mr. Knight said. “Now with mobile technology like ours you can leverage that same concept you’ve already built for print, which typically has more of their market share.”

A number of other publications have also added digital watermarking to supplement the print experience.

For example, Time Inc.’s All You recently made its content shoppable by partnering with Digimarc (see story).

Time Inc. also used Digimarc’s watermarking in its recent cookbook MyRecipes Easy Meal Maker. These watermarks lead to a landing page that lets consumers create a shopping list and view instructional videos (see story).

There are also other options beyond watermarking, such as augmented reality and QR codes, but all of them add another level to traditional print (see story).

“The print medium continues to provide the highest level of reader engagement, and with Digimarc, we can make this content immediately actionable via mobile – a platform that continues to capture even more of consumers’ time,” Ms. English said. “Now, consumers can purchase the products they love and learn more about advertisers in the magazine right from their mobile device.”

Final Take
Rebecca Borison is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York