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The often ignored magazine media growth story

Research Consultant Marius Cloete says there is compelling evidence of growth in magazine media should you care to look

Marius digital growth

The continued efforts of magazine media publishers to place the consumer at the heart of their content strategies is evident in the number of platforms and experiences the industry now offers. Not only have we transformed our businesses to the modern media age, we have done so without sacrificing the levels of quality and originality that our content is known for. 

From events to apps, desktop, mobile, video channels and social media it is becoming increasingly clear that in order to truly assess the vitality of the industry, one needs to take a 360 degree view of its performance.

Whilst we look forward to the arrival of PAMCo’s AMP study to provide a fresh approach to audience measurement, we are not yet at the point where we have a measurement tool in place which truly captures and reflects the vibrant and expansive reach of our industry today.

Despite this, the evidence of magazine media’s growth is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore. The latest comScore data suggests that in a world where digital content is increasingly in oversupply, magazine media seem to be on an unassailable march to win the hearts, minds and attention of consumers.

So what are the comScore figures showing us?

Growing Demand for magazine content

It doesn’t really matter which way you cut the data, the underlying message that emerges for Magnetic members as a group is one of growth. In order to truly understand the demand for magazine media, we’ve calculated the gross number of monthly users for our members’ digital assets (an aggregrate figure of unique visitors across all titles). The most recently released data set for February 2016 shows that gross users reached an incredible 40 million users, an 11.4% y.o.y. increase. This comes against a backdrop where digital behemoths like Twitter are reportedly struggling to grow their user base at the moment.

From a platform perspective mobile is driving growth with more than 30 million gross users in February and an even more impressive increase of 26.7% in comparison to a year ago.

Engaging Millennials

Whilst Magnetic members are reaching over half of the UK’s total mobile population, this reach is heavily skewed towards younger audiences with 73% of millennials aged 18-24 and 60% of older millennials (aged 25-34) being mobile magazine media users*.  

In total, the millennial audience currently accounts for nearly 8 million unique mobile users.

More revealing however, is the fact that digital magazine media is not only getting the attention of younger audiences, but appears to be sustaining their attention for longer, despite the bite-sized nature of digital engagement. Looking at multi-platform time-per-view data, those aged 18 – 24 spend 30% longer per view, and those aged 25 – 34 spent 10% longer per view in comparison to the all reader average.

Broad sector growth

Nine out of 11 publishing categories covered by Magnetic members showed y.o.y. growth for gross multi-platform users, rising to 10 out of 11 for mobile.

Fashion and Lifestyle is the largest of these in terms of number of titles, and shows a 24.4% y.o.y. increase in gross multi-platform users to 9.2 million users and a 44.5% increase in the number of gross mobile users which now total 7.3 million. The ability to target a young and upmarket audience in a highly relevant and welcoming environment should be music to the ears of fashion and cosmetic advertisers who are already big spenders in magazine media.

Mobile drives healthy growth for cars

With seven of the eight motoring tiles showing at least double-digit growth in unique mobile visitors, the motoring category was also a strong performer. For the sector as a whole, gross multi-platform users increased 18.6% y.o.y. to total 8.4 million, and the gross mobile users increased 41% y.o.y. to 5.7 million.

Target groups with a natural interest in online motoring-related content are fast becoming an increasingly important focus point for car manufacturers. Recent research by Autotrader showed that online research is steadily displacing the influence of dealers in the final stages of the purchase decision-making process. The study found that 86% of consumers now conduct their research for vehicle purchase at night and online, and in 66% of cases, the consumer-dealer transaction is the first point of contact between buyer and seller.

Expanding digital footprint

These numbers confirm that magazine media’s digital reach is not only substantial already, but expanding at a healthy rate. Magazine media’s much welcomed environment, an unmatched level of sector insight and its high quality, original content, combines to make magazine publishers one of the most productive partners advertisers have at their disposal.

Brands wanting to effectively capture the attention of their desired target audiences should look beyond their natural association of print with the channel and consider the full 360 degree suite of products available.

*Demographic profile created using unduplicated (net) audience reach data