Wired’s iPad version gets an upgrade

A mock up for an interactive Revlon ad

Wired magazine stopped by today to show off the newest capabilities for advertisers buying space in its iPad version. It was great to see that Conde Nast continues to aggressively develop what is already its most popular iPad property.

If you’ve played with previous issues you know that the depth of content and interactive features offered on this new platform are taking what we once called “print” to a whole new place.

Granted Wired’s app has been buggy. But despite some harsh reviews on iTunes, an awful lot of readers appear more than willing to pony up $3.99 every month for the video, slide shows and rich media that make the experience so much more promising than print.

According to Wired, users are downloading nearly 40,000 iPad versions each month without so much as making a dent in newsstand sales, which remain steady at 80,000 per issue. That can only mean that Wired’s iPad app is either attracting new readers, getting online browsers to pay, or inducing subscribers of the print version to augment their fix with some digital pleasure as well.

And it looks like the experience is about to get even better. Especially for advertisers. In the next month we’ll start to see inline video, opportunities for data capture, audio (originally available only for editorial), animation, information hot spots, in-app Twitter feeds, a look builder and a really nifty 360-degree explore feature that lets you move around an entire environment.

The different ways in which consumers can now interact with an ad will soon be infinite. In the above mock-up for Revlon a reader can apply different make-up – lip glosses, eye shadow, blush – and explore different looks in real time. With a look-builder retailers can let customers slide tops and bottoms across the screen to compose varying outfits. And by creating ads with HTML5 ad developers can add all kinds of rich media to the experience. When Apple increases processing power in the next generation of iPads we’ll see even more.

It would be hard for a creative person to sit through a demo of what’s coming for iPad ads and not get excited. Video, 360-degree views, pages that extend below the fold and embedded social media invite new kinds of experiences. Warning: do not put a :30 TV spot in your iPad ad; readers hate when you do that, expecting you to create unique content for the environment.

True, every capability you incorporate adds more to an already hefty price tag for running an ad in a medium where you’re paying a premium for the cache of it all. Then again, according to Wired anyway, the average reader spends an hour more each month with the iPad version of Wired than with the printed version.  If you get your fair share of that time, perhaps it’s worth it.

It’s too soon to tell whether digital pads will make traditional print obsolete and unnecessary. But it’s definitely going to make traditional print ads look even older than they already do.

After all, do you want to read, or watch, or encounter an ad that you can’t interact with?


One would hope that this is not the end of print. Yet it seems to continue. As this iPad ad demonstrates, the more consumers interact with an ad, the more they will engage with the brand.