Digital response to print ads a click away

News Corp Australia has launched a new image recognition app, which aims to provide integrated digital features to readers of its print products.

Newsclick, which has been initially released for use with Sydney’s Inner West Courier, gives readers various options for enhanced digital engagement with the newspaper.

News Corp’s national network editor for real estate Kylie Davis, who has been involved in the project from its genesis, told The Newspaper Works that Newsclick was originally conceptualised as a tool to enhance real estate sections and was then expanded into a product with full paper compatibility.

“Initially we conceived Newsclick back in May last year as something for real estate. We wanted to trial an app that showed that print advertising for real estate had a digital roll on,” she said.

“We had conducted some research that indicated that people would read through the paper, see the property ads and go online, and we thought that an app in that space would effectively support our real estate advertising.

“The feedback was, ‘couldn’t this work for the whole business’, so we’ve been looking for the best way to execute it.”

Newsclick functionality includes the ability for readers to scan images in the newspaper with their smart phone and view videos or image galleries associated with a story, visit an advertiser’s business or contact them directly. Other functions enable readers to  share stories on social media, find the location of stores or suppliers on a map, enter competitions, shop online and create calendar entries based on advertised events, among other features.

The first edition of the Inner West Courier with Newsclick functionality saw an average engagement of eight minutes – each person that downloaded the app spent roughly eight minutes using it while reading the print product.

“We’ve just seen our first set of results come through from the trial and they’re really interesting,” Ms Davis said.  “Even though it’s early days, there’s a strong correlation between large, clear, well-designed ads with a strong call to action and getting lots of clicks.”

Kathy Lipari, editor-in-chief of NewsLocal, News Corp’s Sydney and Central Coast community newspaper network (which publishes the Inner West Courier), said that Newsclick provided readers with an efficient way to translate information from the newspaper onto their smart phone.

“Newsclick allows our readers to move seamlessly from the lean back experience of relaxing by reading print, into digital actions of researching, buying, contacting a business, or setting a reminder – without needing to get out of your seat,” she said.

“Smart phones are like remote controls and personal organisers for our lives. Newsclick will help readers connect the information they find interesting in print into an instant action that will save time and make their lives easier.”

NewsLocal general manager Michael Wilkins said that the product aims to better integrate digital and print experiences.

“This screen experience that newspaper readers receive through Newsclick is a clear demonstration for advertisers on how the two mediums – print and mobile – can work together,” he said.

“Research tells us that more than 70 per cent of smartphone users search after seeing an advertisement. We have recognised this opportunity to develop Newsclick, providing readers with the most comprehensive list of options to interact with our advertising and content.”

Newsclick’s trial period at the Inner West Courier is into its second week and that trial period will continue through until June, after which News Corp will make a decision on how to progress with the product.

“We’re analysing that on a week by week basis to work out what things we need to tweak, what things we need to do better each week,” Ms Davis said. “We would love it to be rolled out across every paper eventually.”

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