Audience Development Strategies Deployed at Forbes

Forbes’ new audience development strategies include stories for social, podcasting, and focusing on millennials

We see audience development strategies frequently changing with new technologies and analytics. The leadership and direction of the publication is also an important part of the overall strategy.

Today we take a look at Forbes, which has been making changes to remain relevant during the time of digital expansion.


We begin with an article from Digiday which addresses a “lean approach” to content, specifically used for social engagement. ““Increasingly, the strategy here is almost social-first,” D’Vorkin said. “In some cases, they are actually helping our editorial team create content. Years ago, the editor would go, ‘Can you get me some promotion for this post I just did?’ Now, the LinkedIn or Snapchat person is saying, ‘Hey why don’t you do this story on such and such because it’ll do really good on the platform I’m responsible for.’””

The article continues with social media stats and a look at revenue. “Forbes has already seen big increases in its social media followings this past calendar year, including a 73.9 percent increase on Facebook to 4.2 million followers; 48.6 increase on Twitter, to 11.6 million; and 197.9 percent increase on Instagram, to 1.3 million. It wouldn’t say how much revenue it’s getting from distributed content, only to say it plans to ramp up its distributed content strategy this year.”

“On the revenue side, Forbes also is taking a somewhat nontraditional approach. Similar to how Forbes broke with convention in giving brands access to the same publishing system its editorial staff uses, Forbes also blurs the line with its social media team in that it advises the sales and marketing side on how to bring brands to social channels. It’s even planning to hire a person who will be dedicated to that role.”

We now move to a story from AdWeek, which highlights Forbes’ ability to connect with a millennial crowd. “While Forbes magazine publishes 14 times a year, the Forbes website sees about 56 million visitors a month. Nearly half are considered part of a millennial demographic.”

“More than 50 percent, and sometimes up to 70 percent, of digital readers come from mobile devices, comparable to other digital publishers. With that in mind, Forbes set out to design a completely consumable experience that would match other swipeable platforms for bigger projects on their site.”

It seems that Forbes will continue on this path, connecting with younger crowds as it goes. “By focusing on how their new, main audience consumes content—”screens full of information at a time,” said DVorkin—and what they want to do with their lives, Forbes has a secure and regular base of young visitors who are ready to either be successful in their current field or who want to take the world by storm in a different way.”

Lastly, we take a look at a new podcast being published by Forbes. AdWeek reports, “Forbes’ annual lists of the wealthy, the powerful, and the talented get the spoken word treatment with The Forbes List, a new weekly podcast from the publication, hosted on Podcast One as part of an ongoing partnership between the two organizations.”

“The first episode is out and starts with the The World’s Billionaires List, featuring commentary from Forbes’ Kerry Dolan, assistant managing editor of wealth, about how Forbes calculates wealth, billionaires who’d rather stay off and details about how some on the list try to jockey for position.”

We’ll continue to share information on the evolution of audience development strategies we see at digital publications.


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