The 2014 edition of Magazines Canada’s Consumer Magazine Fact Book contains some very interesting data about the trends and consumer habits that are shaping the publishing industry now and into the future. Magazines Canada is the national, not-for-profit trade association representing Canadian-owned, Canadian-content consumer, cultural, specialty, professional and business media magazines. Learn more about them at magazinescanada.ca. Some of the findings of this latest report are included here.
While the focus of this article is on the Canadian publishing industry, many of the trends and developments are similar to, if not the same as what is being experienced in the United States. To start, it is helpful to remember why magazines have been around for so long. Simply put, people like to read magazines and they enjoy the whole magazine “experience”. Advertisers have always loved the magazine format because, in concert with various other iterations such as digital publications and web-based content, magazines are the perfect format to deliver brand-relevant imagery to the reader, allowing them to have a tangible frame of reference and creating an environment where the customer is very receptive to advertising.
With new data suggesting that the multi-tasking trend of the recent past has not increased productivity as was once promised, more attention is being paid to mindfulness, and the focused process of magazine reading ensures the undivided attention of customers to ads. In addition, the very nature of magazines allows publishers to engage readers in a very personal way. Curated content and “advertorials” are new modes of communicating with readers and creating brand loyalty and engaging them in a real way.
Readers have always valued magazine advertising, they are trusted at the source, and ads are traditionally accepted as an essential part of the publication and reading experience. Consumers trust magazine content, and special-interest publications are typically the benchmark for information for that specific group. It is not unusual for people to keep back issues of magazines on hand to refer to for future reference, and digital publications lend themselves even more to storage for future reference. This “shelf life” allows advertisers to create a lasting, durable message and customer loyalty.
Printed magazine advertising works in concert with digital publications to drive readers to advertiser’s websites. Digital magazine publishing is becoming a leading influencer, leading readers to goods and services that are advertised within them, in effect driving the purchasing process from start to finish. The various digital platforms now available to publishers allow an all-encompassing marketing opportunity to reach both mass and targeted audiences. According to many recent studies, magazines ads help drive sales objectives. Over half of readers act on exposure to magazine ads.
Three interesting statistics from the report concern content distribution and consumption:
* The top 25 print magazines reach more adults and teens than the top 25 regularly scheduled primetime TV shows.
* Readership is consistent across generations, seeing less fluctuation among age groups than TV, Internet and radio.
* Consumers are spending a significant amount of time – 40 minutes on average – reading each print issue.