Linkz launches eponymous print to mobile app

Simon Nias
Friday, December 14, 2012

Linkz has launched an augmented reality (AR) app that it claims will give brand owners "a good reason for staying with print" by allowing them to track response rates to printed advertising or marketing material.

Linkz takes the print-ready PDF for a catalogue, POS display, DM, magazine ad, or other printed matter and embeds an invisible marker image in the artwork that can be recognised by the app but is not detectable by the naked eye.

When a consumer uses the Linkz app to scan the relevant page, which has an AR logo to alert the user to the additional content, they are redirected to a mobile-optimised microsite containing whatever content the brand owner wants to feature.

Linkz also uses data capture software in the microsite to track information such as the user location, number of images scanned, length of time spent on the site, and any browsing or purchasing activity while on the site.

According to founder Andrew Perry-Smith, this is one of the things that sets Linkz apart from other AR platforms such as Aurasma and Blippar, which he described as "purely technology based".

"Our aim is to provide a service encompassing the full package, including the creation of the mobile-optimised content, embedding the invisible market, and capturing all the data around consumer behaviour and feeding that back to the brand owner," he said.

"We're bringing passive media to life and tracking what the end user does as a result of viewing that ad, or catalogue, or mailer - we're giving brand owners a good reason for staying with print."

At the heart of the Linkz platform is a "highly automated" system that scans the print-ready PDF, embeds the market image, and also pulls out the relevant content to create the accompanying microsite.

Perry-Smith said the company could offer three options to brand owners, ranging from a low-cost template-based microsite or simple redirect to the brand owner's existing microsite, to creating a microsite/s that are less templated and give "the full AR experience".

For catalogues, the Linkz software creates an individual microsite for each product with "virtually no intervention". Perry-Smith said the firm was about to go live with its first two customers, a catalogue publisher and a marketing agency, and was in talks with a number of major UK publishers.

He added that printers could offer Linkz to their customers as a value-added service, but that the company would not be offering the product as a white label solution, meaning printers will not be able to badge it as their own service.

"It didn't make sense to offer it as a white-label system, because you'd have to create a new app for every one and consumers have a limited tolerance to the number of apps they're prepared to download to do the same thing," said Perry-Smith.

"People don't want to have one app for Tesco, one for News International, one for Emap - it makes much more sense to have one app that is universal."

Brand owners using the software can expect to pay around £40-65 for a mobile-optimised microsite, including the embedded marker image and all the data tracking, which they can access via their own data dashboard. Perry-Smith added that the cost for a catalogue tended to be higher, because of the high volume of images, each of which costs around £20-30 to create a linked microsite for.

For more information on Linkz, visit www.linkz-im.com


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