Condé Nast's VP of marketing analytics on how tablets changed publishing

Summary:Condé Nast's vice president of marketing analytics describes how the historic publishing house is using new digital solutions to trace user profiles across every brand and device endpoint.


SALT LAKE CITY -- The print industry has arguably been one of the most stubborn verticals in the face of new technology, but that's all changing rapidly. Certainly, this shift is affecting everyone from editors and publishers to the consumers, but digital marketing teams have some heavy tasks ahead too.


During the 2013 Adobe Summit this week, I had a chance to sit down with Chris Reynolds, vice president of marketing analytics at Condé Nast, to find out more about how one of the world's largest and most well-known publishing companies is trying to get ahead of the curve.

Reynolds started off by noting that Condé Nast has had websites for the last decade or so. But it wasn't until the last five to six years that publishers started looking at them as more of a consumer revenue play and treating them as an extension of the brand, he continued.

"The quality of the print product -- that was always the most important factor that anyone paid attention to. That's how these magazines became what they are," Reynolds emphasized.

But moving into the digital era, Reynolds highlighted the emergence of the tablet as the game changing device and form factor for publishers -- and thus their advertisers too.

Reynolds posited that the format of the tablet made it easier not only for Condé Nast but the entire print community to make that move into digital because it was more familiar, than say compared to the desktop browser.

"The way you navigate a website is not the way you navigate magazine content," Reynolds quipped.

"The way you navigate a website is not the way you navigate magazine content," Reynolds quipped.

That doesn't mean Condé Nast is shunning other platforms and devices. For example, Reynolds said that The New Yorker and Vanity Fair are being pushed to the smartphone, adding that the company's strategy is to eventually offer an all-access pass of sorts to the user from every digital endpoint.

In fact, mobile traffic for Condé Nast has leaped considerably from just six percent of visits in January 2011 to 24 percent in January 2013.

Reynolds acknowledged that some brands are embracing technology and change more than others, citing Teen Vogue, Glamour, and GQ as a few titles that are thriving more on mobile. Reynolds primarily attributed this to younger audience bases.

Yet even as these shifts having been taking hold at Condé Nast for the last few years, it hasn't been until recently that the digital marketing potential also started to garner attention in-house.

Topics: CXO, Big Data, E-Commerce, Mobility, Tablets


Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider,, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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