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On-site VS in-app magazines

Team PaperLit


Digital magazines bring many benefits for both publishers and readers alike. However, these benefits will depend on whether you choose an on-site magazine or one that’s distributed through an app.

Naturally, the different ways they are distributed bring different effects. Generally speaking, one method will be more advantageous for you than the other depending on what you want to achieve. Let’s take a look at some of the advantages brought by each.


On-Site Digital MagazinesIn-App Digital Magazines
Quicker access for new readersManage multiple magazines in one platform
Fastest way to gain visibilityEncourage readership of your other magazines
Bolsters your website’s visits and time in pageBest for subscriber-based readership
Added value to your websiteQuicker access for subscribers
Single reference point for your digital contentPrecisely track in-app behaviour
Easily referenced onlineOffer premium user experience

1. Quicker access for new readers

If you have an on-site magazine, readers, particularly new ones, can easily access your e-magazine, since you’ll be embedding it in your website. They will be able to access it immediately, most likely one to two-page clicks. It also allows your magazine to be bookmarked on internet browsers or even pinned so your readers could come back again.


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2.Fastest way to gain visibility

Since on-site magazines are mostly used for free-to-access magazines, they will likely get more first-time readers. If the website is your visitor magnet and the magazine is found on your site, then you’re likely to get a few more new readers.

Lots of things work for the magazine’s advantage if it’s embedded in your website. Particularly since the website is likely the most search engine optimized digital content that you have and has the most chance of being found online. Your magazine can certainly benefit from the influx of visitors that come through your website.

3. Bolster your website’s visits and time in page

Eventually, when your magazine has a loyal readership, then they will keep coming back to your website to access your digital magazine. This means the number of visits will snowball eventually and increase.

Another added benefit to your website is that the time spent by each visitor on your page will increase. The “time on page” indicator is actually one of the most prized key performance indicators for websites and digital marketers. It means that they are generating engaging content and people stay in their site to consume more articles.

4. Added value for your website

Today’s modern website has evolved from purely a group of web pages that talk about a company to an interactive assortment of digital content that’s aimed at enriching visitor experience. You have ebooks, podcasts, blogs, embedded videos, online tutorials and now you can even have a digital magazine embedded through a web reader.

A digital magazine adds a bit of flavour to your website. Digital magazine content is (or at least should be) higher quality and is released less often than blogs or news articles. Having a digital magazine is sort of a “change” in pace that will be appreciated and valued by readers.

5. Single reference point for all your digital content

Having your digital magazine on-site allows your users to have only one single reference point if they want to access content from you. If you do it this way, your audience knows it only has to go to one place (your website), to be able to access all the content from you.

6. Easily referenced online

With a magazine on your website, this means each issue can have its own link. We may take it for granted, but actually having a link online is pretty much the equivalent of “existing” in the internet.

If a piece of online content has a link, this means it’s shareable in social media. People can also easily send them through chats. If your content is particularly insightful, it can be referenced in other online blogs, articles and pages where they can easily link them to your magazine issue directly.

In-app digital magazines


1. Manage multiple magazines in one platform

Having a newsstand app allows you to distribute multiple magazines in one place. As a publisher, it’s also easier to have only one place to distribute your digital magazine. From the app, you can also customize and build your brand image.

2.Encourage readership of your other magazines

When you distribute a magazine in your own magazine app, and if you have more than one magazine that you publish regularly, you can encourage readership of the other. You can easily provide sample subscriptions that will let your reader see what your other magazines are like.

3. Best for subscriber-based readership

A newsstand app will be beneficial for publishers that run paid subscription programs as it’s easier for them to control access to the magazine. Having apps also allows you to apply analytics and see insights about subscriber behaviour.

4. Quicker access for subscribers

Just open the phone, swipe once or twice through the menu and click on the app. For subscribers, once they’ve subscribed and downloaded your app, your magazine is basically in their pocket, at all times. All they have to do is open the app, and they know that the latest issue is there.

5. Precisely track in-app behaviour

You’ll have a particular advantage especially over embedded on-site magazines since having your own magazine app allows you to track the behaviour and habits of your readers while they are using your app. With embedded magazines, you can only usually track reader activity up to the page level where it is hosted but it won’t tell you which articles were read, which ones were just scrolled over, or whether the video you placed helped increase time on page.

6. Offer premium user experience

Having your own magazine app gives you a clean slate to provide an elevated premium user experience to your readers. If you consider on-site magazines, you can only do so much in terms of design and aesthetics because you can’t deviate too much from the website’s design. But having a separate app allows you to still maintain your brand identity but enabling you to provide a much elevated experience for your readers. This is becomes even more relevant for paid subscriptions where you have to provide a different experience from what you would normally offer for free.


Before you choose one method of distribution to another, you’ll need to understand what you want to achieve with your magazine. On-site and in-app magazines have their own advantages, as you’ve seen above, and one will be more appropriate for what you want to achieve.