The ten biggest take-aways about magazine media learned at IMAG
If you’re in the magazine industry, you’re probably familiar with the MPA’s annual IMAG conference. My colleague Kim Mateus and I attend this event every year and speak at it often. This year, we were surrounded by some of our favorite magazine publishers and clients, like host Jamie Trowbridge, president and CEO of Yankee Publishing. As Jamie put it, “It’s never easy to get away from the office, but it’s so important for us to come together once a year to share with one another the ways we can grow our businesses.” Magazine-industry events are a unique opportunity to come together as an industry in an open forum while discussing and learning more about the state of our industry.
Another significant resource provided by the MPA is its annual Magazine Media Factbook, just released for 2018. MPA’s president and CEO Linda Thomas Brooks says, “In an industry that places premium value on verifiable facts and audited data, the third-party research presented in the 2018/19 Factbook will inform a year’s worth of conversations within our industry.”
Between these two major sources, here are ten of the most interesting stats or stories we’ve heard about the current state of the magazine industry:
- A total of 134 new print magazines were launched in 2017, and they were weekly, bimonthly, or monthly publications. Out of that number, 27 were special-interest titles, the largest category, followed by 12 regional magazines. In total, including special editions and bookazines, there were 766 new launches in 2017. Currently, over 7,000 consumer magazines are available in the market.
- People spend an average of 51.5 minutes with print issues and 48.3 minutes with digital issues.
- More adults (18–29) read magazines (95%) than use Facebook (81%). This age bracket also thinks of Facebook as the social network their parents use, so it’s interesting that they don’t think of magazines in the same way.
- Instagram is the most popular social media platform. “While Facebook has been the leading network for the magazine brand industry in terms of sheer volume of fans (approximately half of the likes/ followers across the four measured networks), Instagram takes the lead in engagement.”
- Adults 18–49 trust and immerse themselves in magazine media more deeply than non-magazine websites and ad-supported TV networks. The same age bracket is more engaged by ads in magazines than advertisements in other media.
- At the IMAG conference, MPA’s Linda Thomas Brooks shared research showing how much people trust magazine media and how that’s our greatest advantage. In her presentation, she showed attendees an example – an article for Parents that she said took “two years of research and required eight print editors, seven Child Mind Institute staffers, four psychiatrists/psychologists, two lawyers, one fact checker, and more.”
- XO Group’s David Liu said that, “instead of focusing on audience growth, think about how your brand can better service your audience. Because Facebook and Google account for 90% of all new digital advertising, focus on the consumer rather than the advertiser.”
- IMAG chair Laura Simkins presented the 2018 Benchmarking Study which showed that subscriptions and events are some of the highest revenue generators for magazines right now. It’s certainly a great time to be in the subscription business, as consumers are becoming accustomed to spending more on automated deliveries and streaming services.
- According to a panel hosted by Jonathan Dorn, Chief Innovation Officer at Active Interest Media, some of the best magazine salespeople are “entrepreneurial types and bloggers,” and one interesting add-in is that editors have “celebrity sales power” and can be useful when brought to sales meetings.
- Harvard Business Review has stopped spending money on direct mail, and is now using a “100% data-centric digital marketing approach that has yielded dramatic results.” HBR’s Jeff Levy said they’ve dug into adding more subscription-only digital content, and the new strategy is “driving subscriptions and increasing retention by reaching new users and nurturing their journey.”
It was also nice to see that the “super clubs” that have become a best practice product for our clients are also successful for others in the industry. Eric Thorkilsen, CEO of This Old House Ventures, was at the event, and he shared their new product, “This Old House Insider,” an all-inclusive subscription product that gives super fans access to their archive of TV episodes and magazine issues, along with live web cams, sneak peeks, and discounts.
Mequoda Systems publishes and markets 21 special-interest media websites working with 16 different content producers that include magazine publishers, newsletter publishers, and membership organizations. If you’d like to learn more about working with Mequoda, schedule a time to chat with a member of our marketing services team.