Team Condé’s announcement of their $2.99 “GQ” iPhone App certainly seems a step in the right direction. Experimentation like this should always be encouraged. And I’m not surprised that they’re trying to mimic their ad sales model from the print edition: it’s safe for a pilot like this, they know how to sell it, etc.
But why stop there? This app is a unique opportunity for Condé Nast to test the waters of mobile revenue beyond what’s been done. I fall into the target market for this product, so here are my suggestions.
- Making me pay for an app and then loading it with advertising is tricky. Nike’s LIVESTRONG app does it, and it’s annoying as hell. It’s a luxury of the print world that I’ll pay for content that is also ad-supported. Online, it’s more either/or. A $1.99 version with ads and a $3.99 version without, perhaps?
- Tie the user’s GPS to flash deals all over the city. In New York, I would love it if, say, Bloomingdale’s sent out a 10% coupon to me because I’m running the app within two miles of their store. I just flash the coupon code (could be a bar code, even, like with airline tickets) to enable. Hell, maybe it’s a surprise, where I have the chance to win ___ amount of product that day. Struggling boutiques and newer labels would be especially game.
- The GPS function could also be used for social events, if GQ wished to expand in that space. Urban meetups with surprise guests/musicians/etc. (Style.com did a great job with their app update in this vein for Fashion’s Night Out.)
- Partner with Foursquare to provide exclusive deals at the locations profiled in the GQ City Guides / Best Stores in America. There are numerous incentive possibilities, like how bars will give the “mayor” of that location a free drink.
- If you want to really seek out the incremental revenue streams, work out affiliate links within the app to outside purchasing. If GQ tells me about a band and I click through to purchase on iTunes, they get a percentage. Same with other likely mobile purchases. (If you think there are ethical issues here, it’s not such a big deal in Britain. Newspapers there regularly sell the books their review. Though I admit this is a little different.)