Finally! A Way for Print Magazines to Generate Digital Subscriptions, Engagement, and Sales

It’s been a long time since publishers from all over have been praying; doing moon dances and even setting up shrines while they wait for digital and mobile opportunities to drive volumes of new subscribers.

That time has arrived.

Meet smartsy (#smartsy), a mobile-driven brand engagement solution. At ad:tech San Francisco 2014, they announced the release of their inaugural product, the Engagement Marketing Platform (EMP) for mobile, a solution that enables publishers to use their offline magazines to drive online ad (and edit) engagement and digital subscriptions.

smartsy works like this: It uses “Advanced Object Recognition” technology to power its platform. Using a free (white-labeled) smartsy app, consumers snap a photo of a product they love and smartsy’s technology dynamically creates an immersive brand experience. It activates consumers’ interest in the brand by kicking off interactive experiences including exposing exclusive content, making the product available for purchase, giving customers the ability to set up a trial or demo, and more. You can see some of the examples of how smartsy is working with brands first-hand here.

A friend of mine who runs a niche digital magazine dedicated to tequila introduced me to smartsy. And, I have to admit, I was a bit of a skeptic at first. But, after speaking with Arnaud Saint-Paul, the founder, I hung up the phone and found myself excited about the potential.

What smartsy is doing has the opportunity to actually make a difference for publishers. This is why: smartsy allows people to live in their element. And, for many publisher targets, this means the people who read a print magazine (at home, in public places, and more). smartsy also enables the same people to use technology they love (ex: their smartphone) and do things they love (ex: taking photos and posting them online). This is the trifecta of creating success for digital publishing. Magazines can now offer advertisers new forms of engagement while simultaneously offering brand fans a way to read the full issue digitally. As publishers, we have all launched pieces of this puzzle but never something that offers a closed-loop, comprehensive solution.

smartsy is in its early stages, but I will be watching them closely to see how they develop. I hope you do as well. What do you think?

Related reading