While promoting her book Inside Vogue: A diary of my 100 year, British Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman was asked by inPublishing magazine if print was dead. She said: “No. My opinion is that, at the moment, the idea of a tablet app has to be viewed as a niche product that people want for one reason or another to read Vogue magazine in that way.
“The magazine is very tactile, it’s a treat and the print production is very much part of its USP. I’m not sure that a digital app is ever going to be the best way to see Vogue.”
Shulman might have a point. Despite years of warnings about the forthcoming death of print and the inevitable rise of digital content, the numbers tell a different story. Of the 422 UK magazines audited by ABC in 2016, 60 magazines grew their circulation year-on-year. Current affairs magazines and women’s monthlies performed particularly well. Cosmopolitan increased its circulation by 57% by slashing its cover price from £3.80 to £1. Not bad for an industry that’s supposedly on its last legs.
So what does this mean for branded content, in a climate where print costs can seem excessive and ROI seemingly more difficult to measure?
“Print has standout that many digital marketers would die for and you also have a quality experience you can manage,” explained Pete Wilson, Director, Editorial at Specialist – The Content Agency. “As a business, you value your relationship with your customer. You both know that magazines are relatively expensive to produce – so a quality glossy does deliver a value-add experience that’s difficult to emulate on an email.
“With print you don’t have to fight through the noise of online. If distributed properly, your publication will resonate with the right audience, at the right time, which can be an invaluable way to build your brand.”
Don’t believe us? We recently converted the customer engagement figures for NFU Mutual’s Wisetalk magazine into equivalent digital statistics, and the results made for compelling reading…
NFU Mutual Wisetalk magazine: Spring 2016 edition
Open rate: 50%
Click to open rate: 81% (% that read some of the mag)
Dwell time: 20 minutes (Typical time spent with a branded magazine)
Average pages read: 4 (That’s the number of features typically read or browsed)
Lead conversion: 4% (The % of the Open Rate that contacted NFU Mutual as a result of reading the mag)
Despite the trend for online, these stats show that there is still a hunger for engaging, printed content that strikes a chord with readers.
One caveat Pete makes, however, is that certain industries will benefit from print more than others. “We’ve found that print marketing works particularly well for luxury, high-value goods or financial services. These products aren’t marketed by price point but by service, experience and quality. These are values that don’t change frequently and therefore your magazine literally has a longer shelf-life.”