Social Magazine Apps Grapple With Advertising

Now that Forbes has 460,000 subscribers on Flipboard and 900,000 across properties on Google (NSDQ: GOOG) Currents, the brand is close to advertising deals with both social magazine platforms, Forbes Media’s Bruce Upbin says.
On a panel at the MPA Digital: Swipe conference Tuesday morning, Upbin said that reader engagement with Forbes through Flipboard is “off the charts,” with over twenty “flips,” or page views, per average reading session.
Reading sessions on Flipboard are “eight to ten times” longer than those on the web, said Flipboard editorial director Josh Quittner.
So far Forbes has only run house ads on Flipboard and they convert “okay,” Upbin said, adding that the company will have ads on Google Currents sooner because Google has already developed an ad platform and analytics. The only analytics that Flipboard offers now are the number of subscribers, number of users, number of page flips and whether users are using the iPad or iPhone app.
“We don’t sell on CPM and we encourage our publishers not to sell on CPM but to sell based on their rate base,” Quittner said. “At this preliminary juncture that seems to be working pretty well.” He said anecdotal evidence points to publishers finding success selling referrals to their native apps; USA Today, for instance, took out a full-page ad referring Flipboard users to download its app. He said in the first few months publishers typically see “a 30 to 40 percent increase in downloads of those apps,” though Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) doesn’t tell them where the users are coming from.