Hearst Magazines Digital Media unit is now the the first publisher to launch a scalable social platform for thirteen of its brands with Buddy Media on Facebook, making it the largest publisher presence on the Buddy Media Platform.
Buddy Media will power Hearst’s ‘sapplets’ — branded social media applications — a boon for advertisers that extends content from participating brand sponsors and drive e-commerce traffic.
The ‘sapplets,’ available on Facebook in July (with additional roll-out in August) cover 13 Hearst media properties including Cosmopolitan, Seventeen, RealBeauty.com, Redbook and Marie Claire, marking the latest foray in Hearst's increasing digital marketing prowess.
The Buddy-enabled Facebook apps will allow fans of these Hearst titles to access such features as:
• Vote For Your Favorite: A vote up/vote down tool that enables consumers to engage and vote on multi-media branded assets, such as products, user-generated content and brand videos.
• Interactive “Personality” Boutique: A recommendation tool that suggests products based on a user's answers to a personality quiz. Users can explore the recommended products, as well as products recommended for other users, and can click to purchase.
• Custom Badges: Site visitors earn badges for engaging with content on an advertiser’s custom tab (e.g. taking a quiz or posting a comment), which can then be shared on their wall.
“The unique set of ‘sapplets’ will bring online social communities together, and create scale and synergy for Hearst clients. As a result, the enormous global network of Facebook members will become more engaged with our branded content and have the ability to share interactions, recommend favorite products and much more,” said Kristine Welker, chief revenue officer, Hearst Magazines Digital Media in a press release.
The deal with Hearst is the latest move from Buddy Media, rumored to be close to an IPO, to which CEO Mike Lazerow said: “As shown with our recent acquisition of social commerce leader Spinback, as well as our key management hires, we are growing aggressively to meet market demands by all means possible.”
In another social-forward move for Hearst, the media powerhouse has partnered with Pixazza, a company that makes images interactive to allow readers to click on photos and get information about the products seen.
Hearst Corporation also just opened The App Lab at Hearst Tower in New York City, a "state-of-the-art media lab and interactive learning center." The App Lab will showcase the Corporation’s digital content across all tablet and smartphone device platforms. It will also serve as a think tank where innovators within Hearst and across the media and technology industries can meet to discuss and develop the smartest branded content, ad models and platforms for mobile devices. Expert roundtables, as well as consumer insight panels, will be hosted in The App Lab as part of its ongoing educational and leadership programming."
“As consumer usage of mobile devices and related applications continues to explode, The App Lab marks an exciting new era of digital innovation at Hearst,” stated Hearst CEO Frank A. Bennack, Jr. "This places Hearst at the forefront of emerging technologies within the media industry and gives us a physical space where we can work with our marketing partners to collaborate about the future of tablet/mobile media in a sophisticated way.”
To date, Hearst Magazines has published nearly 100 unique apps and digital editions across multiple platforms including Apple iOS, Google Android, Barnes & Noble Nook Color and the Zinio Newsstand. Hearst’s entire portfolio of magazines is featured on both the B&N and Zinio platforms, which can be accessed on multiple devices.
On the newspaper front, Hearst is launching paid and free apps on the major tablets this year—including the critically-acclaimed San Francisco Chronicle app for the iPad that debuted May 31 — as well as enhanced versions of popular smartphone apps. Hearst divisions including iCrossing, Entertainment & Syndication, Business Media and Interactive Media will use The App Lab for internal development projects and customer-focused collaboration related to the smartphone and tablet worlds.
On digital and social, Hearst is — clearly — a new media leader to follow.