Digital Consumption, Particularly Mobile, Drives Magazine Growth

Even with declines in print readership, new Magazine Media 360° Report shows increase in magazine audience, with digital consumption on mobile leading the way

Since its inception in late 2014, we’ve been paying close attention to the Association of Magazine Media’s 360° Brand Audience Report, an innovative data study of digital consumption, as well as print readership, of magazines.

And we’re definitely not the only ones: With these monthly  reports, the MPA is providing context and parameters for publishers across the industry, not to mention encouragement in the form of consistently good news (on the web side of things, at least). While that good news seemed too good to be true initially, it’s standing the test of time, due largely to the thoroughness with which the organization conducts its research. In addition, the data is now being measured against itself, since the program has been running for more than a year.

Magazine Media 360° Audience Reports measure multiplatform publishing data — print, digital, desktop/laptop, mobile, and video — from upward of 150 magazine brands representing more than 30 companies, representing 95% of total readers. The MPA cites sources including GfK MRI’s Survey of the American Consumer and TeenMark; comScore’s Media Metrix, Mobile Media Metrix, and Video Metrix; and Nielsen’s NetView, Mobile NetView, and VideoCensus.

The latest report analysis — again, largely positive — comes from MediaPost, which zeroes in on mobile’s relentless growth. It’s not all candy and butterflies for mobile, though … a once-popular ad tech is falling out of favor, which we also touch on below. And what’s there to take this particular advertising format’s place? Why, mobile native ads, of course!

Digital Consumption, Mainly Mobile, Fuels Y-O-Y Gains, MPA Says

Total audience for American magazines reached 1.76 billion in November of 2015, representing a 4.1% jump from November of 2016, MediaPost reports.

“The total volume of print readership slipped 6% from 982 million to 925 million over this period. However, this was more than offset by a surge in magazines’ mobile audiences, which expanded 39.5% from 357 million to 498 million,” Erik Sass writes.

“Over the same period, their desktop Web audience fell 7.7% from 300 million to 277 million, reflecting the accelerating shift to mobile consumption. Finally, magazines’ video audiences, measured separately from mobile and desktop, grew 14.4% from 53.3 million to 61 million.”

… But Mobile Banner Ads Are Flagging

Mobile banner ads are no longer the darling of digital publishers and marketers according to a recent study from Trusted Media Brands Inc., MediaPost reports.

“Although display ads — including banners — saw immense growth in the third quarter of last year (mobile accounted for 55% of all display ad clicks in the third quarter), many consumers and advertisers feel their interruptive nature may do more harm than good,” Ben Frederick writes.


“Video and native ads are considered to be less interruptive to mobile user experience and better at lifting brand awareness and engagement. Some 45% of respondents expect to use video in 2016, with 46% planning to use pre- or mid-roll. Forty-five percent of respondents plan to use native ads in mobile, down from 50% last year.”

New Native Advertising Rules and Regulations: A Primer

Recently, we relayed news about the Federal Trade Commission’s new policy issuance on native advertising rules and regulations. Native advertising expert Tobi Elkin weighed in earlier this month with a MediaPost article on five things to know about the new guidelines.

The takeaways? The broadness and flexibility of the FTC’s definition of native; the diversity of their focus areas; their plans to scrutinize on behalf of confused consumers; the demand for disclosure prominence; and the insufficiency of disclosure after click-through.

Points of Emphasis for Digital Publishers in 2016

If you feel like you’re not getting enough free advice from us, here’s some more from MediaPost for 2016:

“Remember the effort you poured into creating mobile and tablet responsive experiences? Gone are the days when a multi-device approach would solve the mobile question. Now, content must flow multi-screen — inside Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter — where the audiences are,” Satish Polisetti writes.

“To add complexity, the social platforms all want publishers to create content for their special formats, with Facebook Instant Articles, Snapchat Discover, Apple News, Google Accelerated Mobile Pages and many more to come. The process of publishing content on these platforms and screens will become much harder, raising the question of how to serve ads into this fragmented audience with ease. Expect lively conversations about content management systems (CMS) at your next gathering with publishers.”

Is boosting digital consumption consuming all of your resources? Give your budget a break with our FREE Organic Audience Development Strategy Handbook

To digitally consume more about digital consumption, visit MediaPost.


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