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Print-to-Mobile Sees Emergence of Image Recognition and Augmented Reality in 2012

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Press release from the issuing company

Nellymoser study reveals rapid adoption of image-based technology, representing 19% of all mobile activated print experiences

Boston, MA – Mobile activation in the Top 100 U.S. magazines has dramatically changed from 2011 to 2012. Several compelling patterns have emerged, notably the increasing popularity of issue-wide mobile programs and magazine branded scanning apps, particularly those leveraging augmented reality, image recognition, and invisible watermarking technology. Over the last two years that Nellymoser has tracked the use of print to digital content in magazines, there has been overwhelming growth in mobile activations used in both editorial and advertising content.

This initiative was designed to amass the most comprehensive picture of how mobile is being deployed in the U.S. magazine market. Every page was examined, every mobile enhancement was launched, and the data was collected on both advertising and editorial pages. Nellymoser uses this data for both industry-wide benchmarking and to inform the design and implementation of print to digital experiences.

Some of the striking results include:

  • Number of mobile experiences has risen to 8,448 mobile activations in 2012 with Q1 at 1,472 and Q4 rising to 2,252, over 150% growth

  • In September of 2012, typically a special issue month, total activations peaked at 1,312 for the year

  • Image-based activation, driven by either invisible watermarks or image recognition, represented just under 20% of all activations

  • Augmented reality for the first time has become a strong presence, comprising almost 10% of all mobile activation points

  • Magazine-specific scanning apps, such as those published by Lucky, Seventeen, GQ, Teen Vogue, Brides, Popular Science, and Maxim, were released by 12% of the Top 100

  • Although advertisers are actively driving the use of interactive experiences across print and cross channel to tablets, the exciting development tracked in the study is the growth of editorial engagement, creating more interactive experiences for the reader

“2012 was a watershed year for mobile activated print. Close to 20% of all activations were image-based. This represents a significant shift from code-based activation (e.g. QR codes) to image-based activation,” stated John Puterbaugh, Executive Vice President & Chief Digital Officer Nellymoser. “We expect this year over year growth to continue, fueled by the unique opportunity for editors to connect their print and digital content and engage readers via mobile.”

Download a complimentary copy of the Mobile Activation Study at:



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