Five key magazine media audience development themes

This was one of five FIPP 2015 themes in audience development, presented by FIPP’s Amy Duffin at the Publishing and Media Expo in London, UK, yesterday.

The themes were:

• Magazines are not only print anymore

• Audiences dictate distribution

• Content is a trump card

• Authenticity and the brand

• Being mobile, social and visual

Magazines are not only print anymore

People often equate “magazines” to “print,” but simply “does not hold true anymore,” Duffin said. Today, magazine media audience development takes place across a vast range of platforms.

She referred to the US magazine media association, the MPA’s, Magazine Media 360º audience measurement tool, which shows the scope of magazine media audiences in the US across a range of platforms, with mobile and video two of the top-growing channels.

Brands are getting it right. One example is Hearst’s online universe, near 300 million users across its various branded properties in the US and globally.

This did not mean print was forgotten, Duffin said, including demonstrations of faith with digital-to-print launches such as Meredith’s Allrecipes, Net-a-Porter’s Porter and Airbnb’s Pineapple as examples.

Audiences dictate distribution

Referring to the MPA’s recent American Magazine Media 360º Conference (AMMC) in New York, Duffin quoted National Geographic Society’s chief media officer Declan Moore: “[We are] driven by providing the best content for fans in the easiest way to consume it.”

An example of how National Geographic follows consumers to develop its audience was its debut in Snapchat’s new Discover feature. Other magazine media brands included Hearst’s Cosmopolitan and Time Inc.’s People.

Quoting Hearst Magazines’ president David Carey, Duffin said “having Cosmopolitan on Snapchat Discover is an example of aligning content with where audiences are.”

Content is a trump card

To go where you audiences are, you of course have to have content that’s relevant and engaging. Content helps brands define and develop their USPs, and remains a crucial component of the audience development strategy.

Quoting Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, who also spoke at the AMMC in the US, Duffin said, “I’ve said this for years. The most important thing is content…this is the kind of stuff that gets passed around on social media and keeps its heart beating.”

Magazine media have content in its DNA, are born storytellers and it is a position of strength to build on.

Authenticity and the brand

While true that a lot of media engagement online happens with the end-consumer only vaguely, or not at all, aware of the brand they’re engaging with, this does not mean the devaluation of the brand. Within the cacophony of messages, users still look for authenticity and credibility. This is where brand comes in.

Established magazine media already have trust relationships. Quoting The Economist Group president Paul Rossi and others, Duffin said the trick is to ensure “you remain true to your brand and its voice, to be authentic and to do so consistently” to develop audience trust in the online sphere.

Being mobile, social and visual

Magazine media brands are adopting mobile first strategies, they’re driving social engagement and they’re fulfilling in visual (which in this instance refers to especially development in video). Duffin gave several examples:

• Mobile: People magazine gets 2 x visits (26 million) from mobile compared to desktop

• Social: National Geographic has 56.2 million followers across Facebook, Instagram and Google

• Video: Hearst investing $325 million in a teen video site; Condé Nast “courting YouTube stars

Your thoughts?

Get in touch with Amy.

More like this

How Meredith built Allrecipes into a digital-to-print, multi-platform success

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Economist president on the role of brand

Twitter co-founder on publishing’s ‘renaissance’

Don’t miss

The FIPP World Congress in Toronto, Canada from 13-15 October 2015. Find more information here.

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