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Blog: publishing

“Beautiful Holland” Showcases Dutch Beauty with Layar

Chris Cameron July 20, 2015

Gerard Lakwijk, publisher of several books about various locations in the Netherlands, has taken it upon himself to compile an all-encompassing anthology of the country’s past, present and future. The book, Beautiful Holland, features pages and pages of lavish photos and illustrations of the country’s scenery – all of which has been made interactive with Augmented Reality.

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Magazine Publishers Forgot How to Innovate

Maarten Lens-FitzGerald January 12, 2014

Layar Has the Solution with Interactive Print

In this era of technological change, innovation is essential to each industry. In magazine publishing there is very limited room for innovation; the focus is on survival and every penny counts. Yet to survive, investing time, resources and good people in new innovations and learning how to make them work is essential. Don’t forget that magazine publishing websites didn’t make money from the start, but making money seems to be the bar current new innovations are held to.

Interactive print is a powerful innovation that is in its last round of learnings to earn its lasting place in the publishing industry, adding value, engagement and revenue. Some publishers have been “playing around” with interactive print, and the numbers are getting more serious: at Layar we’ve seen over 50,000 executed campaigns. To help make the last round of learnings happen effectively, we’re introducing the Layar Innovation Program to accelerate the learning curve and strengthen this print-based opportunity of the magazine industry.

Innovation Is Key to Every Business
In the last 200 years, innovation hasn’t been needed as much as it is now. Most industries have relied on scalable efficiencies: larger production, lower cost and high barriers to entry. Accomplish that and innovation hasn’t been needed.

Today this has changed. Innovation is crucial for any business to last. An exponential rate of technology growth is present with market uncertainty and disruption where competition can come from around every corner. We all have heard the disruption examples in music and video, and as we all know, change is happening in publishing as well. We have also learned that the companies which remain afloat are the ones that keep innovating alongside their day-to-day business. And not just short-term innovation. It’s lasting innovation that constantly returns value.

Magazine Publishers Forgot How to Innovate
Publishers of magazines have taken a double hit in the last 10 years. New technologies disrupted their core advertising business model and their distribution platform (the Internet) and means of consumption (the Web and tablets). Add to that the economic depression in the last several years and the industry finds itself in survival mode.

The industry is focusing on survival and forgetting about innovation. Short-term results are what count in such a period of survival. Yet how does one ensure long term survival for the industry with such accelerated technology, business and market innovation? Innovation is essential. Without it, outsiders will come in and do it without the main players, just as Apple did for music and YouTube did for video.

Currently, any innovation in the magazine industry has to make money from the start. This approach may keep the bottom line steady but it doesn’t result in long-lasting innovation. It ignores the existence of a learning curve and may not even be innovation anymore but only short-lasting gimmicks. There is a lot of skepticism in the industry, even for innovation. Although this is understandable given the situation, it will not help the industry get to the next level.

Yet this wasn’t always the case. In the past, magazine publishers were able to find great long-lasting innovative models by investing in them and helping them work over time by trying, testing and learning. Websites didn’t make money from the start, nor did digital editions, commerce, merchandising and events. Enough did make money, however, eventually resulting in solid revenues.

So how do we make room in the world of publishing to keep innovating?

Layar Wants to Help Get the Mojo Back
Interactive print is a step innovation for the publishing industry. It’s the technology that links the printed world to the digital world, turning a substitute into an add on and resulting in extra value for readers and advertisers. Some have said its the best innovation since color ink jet printing was introduced. Others say its the second screen of print. The key thing is that it strengthens the core product – printed paper – and links it to the online world and all of its opportunities. It’s an alliance of strengths.

Mojo, from the movie Austin Powers.

Layar has seen over 300,000 interactive print pages published with a big part coming from magazine publishers all over the world, both big and small, as well as in the B2C, B2B and custom media arenas. We’ve learned a lot about what works and also what doesn’t. Many of the puzzle pieces on how to do interactive print well have become clear, but the whole puzzle has not been solved just yet.

We don’t want to wait for the pieces to fall into place, we want to help complete the puzzle. Layar has the learnings and insights from publishing specialists and from over 50,000 published campaigns. We want to systematically work with publishers to make interactive print successful in the long run. The Layar Innovation Program is for publishers who are ready to commit to making interactive print work for them in a lasting manner.

In the Layar Innovation Program, we bring our lessons learned, expertise and technology to the table. We ask that publishers come to the table with the magazine titles they think will work best with interactive print based on target group, content and advertisers. Publishers should be ready to work for 6-12 issues to learn and build the proof for using the technology in their business.

During the program, Layar and the publisher will work together issue-by-issue to develop and create interactive content and advertising, print calls-to-action, analytics, reporting and more. The result is the proof on how interactive print adds a lasting value to the business as well as the knowledge of activating the new channel, the amount of work needed and content types that succeed. The program requires an average investment of around €65,000 (roughly $90,000), but you can now enter to get in at no cost this year. How?

A Call for Mavericks
The reality is that print is still the core of the publishing business. While ad revenue and subscriptions are down, interactive print grows the business, enhances the business – call it what you want. Layar reinforces print. That’s why Layar is looking for the true mavericks in magazine publishing.

We are giving away 1 full membership to the Innovation Program for free! We are looking for publishers who will convince us that they are ready to join. If we’re impressed and we choose you, you’ll receive the full benefit of the Innovation Program at no cost. We want to put our money where our mouth is. If you’re ready to bring the mojo back to publishing and think you need to be part of this program, enter to win today at

Maarten Lens-FitzGerald
Layar Co-Founder


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How to Make Money with Augmented Reality in Publishing

Maarten Lens-FitzGerald September 27, 2013

AR will not save print. The publishers will.

As the largest platform for augmented reality (AR) with over 9 million downloads in the U.S. and 33 million across the world, Layar has seen many publishers begin to use the innovative technology to their advantage.

There are over 55,000 publishers, marketeers and more using our online interactive print creation tool, the Layar Creator, to create and manage AR campaigns. Seventeen is one of them. So is Inc. Magazine. All of the magazines of the Parents group, Dwell and many others are using Layar, including specialized B2B titles and local newspapers.

And these aren’t “one off” experiments. Many of our clients are regular users because they make money with AR.

Based on our breadth of experience, we’ve been able to distinguish four key ways to make money with AR in publishing. Plus, we’ve also discovered the most critical factor for success. Want to know what they are?

1. Up-sell Print Ads

The biggest way publishers are boosting revenue with AR is by up-selling their advertising. Now normal print ads can be sold as premium AR ads with digital extras, including videos, slideshows, links to webpages or even social media sharing. Some even create entire interactive experiences with 3D animations and games.

Conde Nast recently used Layar in a cross-magazine deal in Vogue, Allure and many others for Kraft’s new Crystal Light product line. It was a huge hit with readers, and major publishers like Napco have also started up-selling their ads with Layar in several of their magazines.

But it’s not just glossy magazines or B2B publications. In Canada, local newspaper publisher Glacier Media shared that they plan to make an extra $7.5 million thanks to their up-selling efforts for Layar-enhanced ads. AR is a perfect fit for the company’s high-volume, low-cost ad model, as the added value of interactivity brings in additional revenue.

The key benefit of AR is additional revenue with little effort. No new websites or iPad editions need to be built. AR allows the existing ad material to be enhanced, creating a competitive advantage and bringing in new revenue.

AR lifts sales morale and advertisers keep coming back because AR is fresh, new and it works! Publishers are making money and people are interacting with the ads - some achieving several hundred thousand views from readers. In short, the advertisers are ready, it’s up to publishers to provide it.

2. Sponsored Editorial Content

Another way publishers are cashing in on AR is through sponsored editorial content enhanced with augmented reality. A good example is the recent Inc. 500 issue in which the bonus AR content has been sponsored by Chase Bank.

Several video interviews, talks and other items are added with AR to the main editorial content feature Chase ads. Each video features a pre-roll ad for Chase credit cards. Depending on the magazine, the audience and other factors, some advertisers have paid over $1,000 to have their name associated with AR content. Others have paid in the tens of thousands. The money for AR is out there.

3. Print to E-Commerce

Rodale, Meredith, Conde Nast, Hearst… it’s hard to name a large publisher that’s not adding retail and e-commerce to its offering. Simultaneously, online retailers like Mr. Porter and Thrillist began in retail and have added publishing to their activities. There is a massive convergence between print and online retail taking place, and AR is the natural way to enable both.

With AR, readers can scan a page and add items to their shopping cart, allowing them to make impulse purchases right then and there. Seventeen saw amazing results with its September issue, as it allowed young readers to scan over 220 pages and add any item to a shopping wishlist.

Dwell and successfully teamed up to use Layar to offer readers a shoppable magazine experience. They even sold a $3,000 rug through AR! This year, don’t be surprised when you see holiday gift guides with print-to-mobile e-commerce enabled. It’s here now and not going away. The printed page has become a point-of-sale.

4. Charge for Production Services

Layar is a self-service platform. It provides the tools that let anyone create interactive print content. Large printers like RR Donnelley, Brown and Fry Communications are leading the charge in creating extra augmented reality content for their customers.

Publishers are doing the same. Most have production studios that either charge by the hour or as a line item in a cross-media campaign. Either way the model is simple, they charge for the work they do and get paid for it.

The Critical Success Factor

Across the board we see one critical success factor that lets all publishers make money with augmented reality.

Two words: guts and belief.

Publishers with guts and that believe in AR make it work. They see the opportunity and seize it. They aren’t the people that sit back or say “If I only had more resources I would be better.” No. They are the publishers who say that “Despite the changes in my industry, despite the fact I have no extra resources, I made extra revenue with AR.”

They dare to make change in their organization and in their publication. They are the ones that are successful. We have seen it with Glacier Media, with Dwell, with Seventeen and more. At Layar we actively seek these mavericks. We want to work with them. Which are you? A “Despite” person? Or an “If only” person?

Recently, industry pundit Bosacks commented on the idea that AR will “save the print industry.” At Layar we don’t say this. Print doesn’t need saving. Print is changing, but it’s not disappearing.

There is only one key group to steer the industry through all of this successfully: the publishers with guts and belief. The maverick publishers.

Get in touch if you’re ready to join us.


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Elanders Partners with Layar for Interactive Print

Chris Cameron April 10, 2013

We’ve previously mentioned our partnerships with big printers and publishers like Fry Communications in the U.S. and Glacier Media in Canada, and today we’re announcing yet another.

Elanders UK, part of an international printing firm with production across nine countries on four continents, has partnered with Layar to provide interactive print to its customers, which include Jaguar Land Rover, Tesco and Bosch.

With this partnership, Elanders joins a rapidly expanding group of publishers, printers and brands making Layar their go-to choice for interactive print.

“Creativity, innovation and a passion for strong results are essential qualities for any of our partners and Layar was no exception,” said Elanders Managing Director Kevin Rogers. “From the offset, it was clear that Elanders and Layar shared the same vision for creating communications not only with ‘wow’, but with the results to match.”

With over 100 years of printing experience, Elanders serves customers in over 30 countries with both print and digital solutions. Now with Layar, they can bring all of their services together in one nice package.

“Creativity, innovation and a passion for strong results are essential qualities for any of our partners and Layar was no exception.”

“Our customers value our input in ensuring every piece of communication we produce, whether print or digital, is the most efficient and effective it can be,” said Rogers. “We believe this works best when messages resonate with the end user through engaging content across both on and off-line platforms; the trick is to create a seamless communications journey across all channels.”

Elanders plans to help clients make their communications more engaging and effective, providing real results and return on investment. As Rogers says, the choice to go with Layar was an easy one.

“With interest in interactive print and augmented reality increasing amongst our clients, partnering with a specialist who has the expertise and experience to deliver in this field was a natural next step,” he said.


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Publishing Executive Features Layar’s Interactive Print

Chris Cameron February 19, 2013

We’re happy to share another great example from the States as respected publishing industry magazine Publishing Executive has enhanced its latest issue with Layar’s interactive print technology.

Publishing Executive is a magazine tailored for, appropriately, publishing executives! It provides case studies and discusses new innovations in the publishing world, among other things, so it’s natural that Publishing Executive will include interactive print going forward.

Click here to view and scan the Publishing Executive cover!

“We make it our business to keep up with and write about new technology in the magazine industry,” said Editorial Director Lynn Rosen. “I think it’s really important that we also use the technology we write about. It helps our readers learn more about the various products and how they work.”

Publishing Executive first heard of Layar when co-founder Maarten Lens-Fitzgerald spoke at Dr. Samir “Mr. Magazine” Husni’s ACT 3 conference last fall. “It was a very compelling presentation,” said Rosen.

“We found the [Layar] system to be extremely user-friendly and the results had a lot of impact. It has a real “wow” factor. And the customer service is excellent!”

The cover of the latest edition of Publishing Executive, titled “Reinventing Publishing,” offers links to social media, subscription options, slideshows and videos help bring the publication to life.

When asked about the magazine’s experience with the Layar Creator, Rosen called it “clear-cut and simple.”

“You can be up and running quickly,” she adds. “We went from deciding to use it to closing an issue in about two weeks!”

Publishing Executive plans to use the Layar Creator to enhance each of its issues with more and more interactivity going forward. The magazine joins the growing group of publications and industry influencers using Layar’s interactive print technology.

“Everytime I pull out my smartphone and show people how the cover comes to life, I get a great reaction!”


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