NEW YORK: Lifestyle magazine Elle recently conducted an experiment that linked editorial product endorsement to mobile proximity and voucher apps, and says the initiative helped to drive 500,000 retail store visits.

Elle launched a "Shop Now" digital program in its September edition, which enabled readers to receive location-based notifications from the ShopAdvisor app as well as discount offers from the RetailMeNot app.

Users who opted in to the scheme received a push notification if they were within a mile of certain retailers, including Levi's and Barnes & Noble, and then a digital discount offer if they chose to visit one of the participating stores.

Kevin O'Malley, Elle's senior VP and publisher, told Digiday that there had been 500,000 in-store visits driven by the beacons over the five week period and that the results were strong enough for Elle to continue the program in 2016.

"We already curate product in our magazines, but this gets it to the reader when they're out in the market," he said. "That editorial endorsement is highly valuable, because when someone gets a pop-up from a brand selling something, the instinct is delete, delete, delete."

The results suggest that brands stand to gain from leveraging partnerships with publishers to extend their reach beyond what their own standalone apps can deliver.

"The results were so good because of how we wired it altogether," said Scott Cooper, founder and CEO of ShopAdvisor.

"When you get an alert from your favorite magazine that's endorsing something nearby, you walk in the store and get an offer. It's a really high quality, curated, exclusive experience," he added.

His opinion was endorsed by Rob Murphy, the VP of marketing at Swirl, the beacon technology platform that powers the RetailMeNot app.

"Readers rely on Elle's point of view when making purchasing decisions, so that combined with an offer, like a discount, is a powerful combination," he said.

Data sourced from Digiday; additional content by Warc staff