2012 Year in Review – Is your magazine in the digital spin cycle?

As I reflect on the year gone by it gives me a chance to decipher all the market turbulence publishers had to deal with in 2012. My latest concern is the frustrations of all the new technologies publishers have to sort through. As I start another chapter in my career, I am working on media strategies from an ad agency perspective. This allows me to see the gap of advertiser needs and emerging digital technologies publishers are using. I think some publishers are losing their focus on what advertiser’s want and got sucked up into the digital tornado.

Magazine publishers are being pulled in several directions and need to focus on the key areas and not get distracted by the latest technology hype of the next great thing that you gotta have.

Digital spin cycle priority list. Focus on these key areas in the order listed.Spincyclechart

1. Website – The anchor of the digital strategy has to be the website. Web browsing is still the number one way people will engage with your brand online. What makes a good website, with HTML 5, sites are adopting a tile grid design framework. Cross platform is the key as the site need to work on desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones … a tall order for a publisher with a modest budget.

2. Email Newsletter – Email offers the best targeting than other forms of online advertising. It is also opt-in so you have proof of delivery for advertisers. Email newsletters are the number one driver of quality traffic to your website. The challenge is to create enough content.

3. Digital Editions – Digital editions works and saves trees. In the B2B space where the magazine is controlled the digital if done properly (designed for the screen) can expand the readership and save lots a money in printing and distribution costs. For B2C titles it seems print is still favoured by readers.

4. Paid Content – For consumer magazines getting people to pay for digital content can be done, but expect the trickle effect. A magazine app is a new paid distribution channel. For B2B magazine it is a waste of time, but some publishers have ventured in the market research field which has high value content.

5. Magazine APP – There will the circulation benefits, but manage your expectations and to plan for the trickle effect for new magazine subscribers unless you are #1 or #2 in your space. You can’t sell an ad sponsorship until you reach a circulation milestone that will attract advertisers.

6. Social Media – It does not generate enough ROI as there is no established model to sell advertising around it, but it is a good push strategy to drive traffic to website. Don’t waste a lot of time on this, this is all market hype.

7. SEO – Traffic from SEO have no advertising value as it  skews an  international audience  in most cases. There is rigging of rankings by Google in opinion. My review of the Google Nexus Tablet had 13,000 hits in the first week it was posted and was ranked number one for product reviews, but in the second week it disappeared from all the rankings, so I do not trust SEO results as they are manipulated.

And is all this effort in expanding into the digital realm worth it? According to this study on the ad effectiveness of online advertising, it is not as effective as a traditional advertising of tv, radio and print. Online is seen as even creepy, no other media can lay claim to that. Whoa, as a media buyer this will affect the media mix in an integrated campaign.



So perhaps the technologists have it all wrong as the latest research is telling me that traditional advertising may make a comeback in 2013. Hooray for the magazine industry.

One Response to “2012 Year in Review – Is your magazine in the digital spin cycle?”
  1. Awesome blog article.Much thanks again. Much obliged.

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