With the growth of technology, digital marketing has become ever increasingly important for the comic industry. Viral Marketing Campaigns are doing this job pretty well, it seems.In January 2012, Comixology revealed that its sales reached 50 million downloads and that it doubled to 100 million downloads by the time October came.
It’s clear that the triumph of digital comics is increasing swiftly and concurrently with print, and it’s Marvel, who within the last few years indicates incredible skill in rebuilding its own brand, that is offering a much more when it comes to technology and repair in the array of apps for mobiles and tablets.
There have been huge strides in Augmented Reality (AR) recently, and Marvel has played a big part in the push to create a bridge between print and digital content since mid 2012. With the Marvel app, you read through your physical comic, taking care of the little AR symbol in the corner of a panel.
There normally are five or six AR symbols per book, which are fairly unobtrusive. Just hold your Smartphone or tablet over the page and quickly you’re transported to exclusive content and “behind the scenes” footage. AR doesn’t just works as a way to integrate printed comics with the digital world; offering bonus content along with a method to bring traditional readers online, but also serves the comic book writers who do not need to shoehorn baffling exposition into everything they write.
The Marvel Comics App is Marvel’s own digital comic download service, which at present offers over 3,500 issues, with new comics available on the day of its physical release. If reading a comic on a tablet or mobile fills you with the fear that you’ll be pinching and dragging your way through every panel creating a massive chore of a consumer experience, well don’t worry as Marvel utilizes a surprisingly user-friendly guided reading function.
Similar to Comixology’s Guided View, Marvel’s app allows you to automatically navigate a comic book book by merely swiping your finger around the display screen. First you see the full page, then individual panels, and then the app instinctively zooms into specific relevant details within the panel, managing to mimic the reader’s own gaze in a satisfying way. Load time as well appears to be non-existent.
The Marvel Unlimited app is Marvel’s paid subscription service. For a monthly or yearly fee, you are able to have access over 13,000 comics from throughout Marvel’s history.Previously only available online, by March 2013 Marvel Unlimited is available on Android and iOS devices. The app works by streaming content online, so a internet is a necessity. However it is possible to download and install up to six comics temporarily to your device so that you can read them offline.
The future of comics book reading is certainly tied into digital, and many other publishers are discovering the exact same thing. Image Comics, the third biggest publisher, has said that 15% of their total comic books sales are from digital media. It’s also interesting to note that trends previously designed to resuscitate the ‘ailing’ comic book industry – variant covers, limited print runs – are also the reasons why numerous mature readers lost faith in the comic industry.
With digital marketing, this collector mentality is beyond the question as digital comics never go out of print or sell out. It removes the mercenary style search for variant covers or rare editions, as there is no such thing like a limited edition online. Digital comics need to rely on the favorable old-fashioned techniques of story-telling, character development and quality of art to attract readers.
The ability to give away free comic downloads to entice new readers as a digital marketing strategy could also turn out to be a much more frequent and expense efficient exercise.