Reaching Digital Magazine Readers: Facebook, Mobile, Ad Blocking

Audience development and retaining digital magazine readers is as challenging as ever, but the industry is getting creative

ACEM, a foundational part of the Mequoda Method, stands for “Attracting, Capturing, Engaging, and Monetizing” digital magazine readers. Of course, the key to doing those last three is retaining audience who check out your multiplatform content and products. 

As you well know, there are currently some obstacles to making that happen. Certain media companies who insist they’re not media companies (cough-Facebook-cough) are gobbling up consumers, while mobile tech issues and the deleterious effects of ad blocking are not exactly helping.

But hang in there: Digital publishers have not yet begun to fight, as Digiday reports in recent articles. Let’s start there this week!

Publishers Regroup on Audience Tactics With Facebook Dominance

So much good stuff in this Digiday article by Max Willens about what Facebook and Google have meant, good and bad, for publishers, and what publishers are doing to ensure digital magazine readers don’t disappear for good.

“Even when Facebook and Google were reliable sources of traffic for publishers, it was hard for publishers to get readers to stick around. To combat high bounce rates, publishers have been working to keep readers on their sites longer or capture them in the form of an email subscription or a site registration,” Willens writes.

“That has led dozens of publishers to a company called Bounce Exchange. The 4-year-old firm, which serves context- and user-specific calls to action to a site’s visitors, got started as a tool for e-commerce companies, but it realized in 2014 that its service could be useful to publishers, too. Today, [COO Omri] Bloch said, Bounce Exchange serves ‘pretty much every major publisher in the U.S.,’ with clients ranging from lifestyle publishers like Cosmopolitan and Playboy to vertical publishers like Four Hour Workweek and Fatherly (and, yes, even Digiday). Clients use its tools to drive everything from newsletter signups to subscriptions to purchases. … Once a publisher gets a reader’s email address, however, more work is needed. Because not everybody responds the same way to email blasts, publishers including Fusion and VentureBeat use tools like Iterable to vary the cadence, tone and style of the newsletters, based on how recipients respond.”

Marie Claire’s Plan to Double Digital Magazine Readers

Marie Claire UK has a strategy for increasing readership and pleasing digital advertisers, Digiday reports.

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“There’s a redesign for the site, coming live Sept. 12 and tying in with a refreshed look for the magazine. Online Marie Claire uses gallery pages where the reader clicks through 40 or so images from a fashion show or a runway. This format will be killed and replaced with one page with the 40 images listed one after the other, to make the experience easier for people reading on mobiles, which represents roughly 60 percent of its traffic,” Lucinda Southern writes.

“The new design is cleaner and makes content that was previously hard to find, like home interiors, more discoverable through the navigation bar. It has also killed off dozens of unused categories as part of the clean-up. The pages will be dictated by the user experience. Once Time Inc. gleans how people interact with the site, it can make changes. For example, the elements are modular rather than fixed, making it easier to move a format further up the page to make it more noticeable to readers.”

Analyzing Impact of EU’s Anti-Ad-Block Policy

Another battle in the ad blocking wars, and this one seems to be going digital publishers’ way, at least for now.

Digiday reports:

“Bad news for mobile operators wishing to block ads at the network level: On Tuesday the EU’s Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (Berec), officially said that doing so raises net neutrality issues,” Jessica Davies writes.

“Three has nine million U.K. customers, so the prospect of it blocking or controlling ads on its network has alarmed publishers. John Barnes, Association of Online Publishers director and chief digital officer at Incisive Media, said that publishers must bear their share of the blame for the rise in ad blocking. But the problem is, network-level blocking treats good actors the same as bad ones.”

How are you faring when it comes to attracting digital magazine readers? Let’s discuss in the comments!

To read more about reaching digital magazine readers and other industry news, visit Digiday.


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