Why MSN is Glowing: Glo Editor Weighs in on New Online 'Lifestyle Destination' and the Future of Digital Content
In a move interweaving digital, branding and premium content, MSN has partnered with magazine publisher Hachette Filipacchi and production firm BermanBraun to launch Glo, a sleek website tailored to the women's lifestyle niche.
With its unique, vertical scrolling design, glossy, full-screen photo galleries and daily, original content, Glo aims to unite the rich imagery of a magazine with the appeal of a dynamic website. At the same time, it channels the classic women's magazine in its featured sections: style, beauty, living and relationships. The result is an amalgamation of multimedia possibilities that strives to exceed the boundaries of conventional Web and print.
This is the second time MSN has experimented with building a brand via a content partnership. In February last year, MSN and BermanBraun launched Wonderwall, which has since become one of the top celebrity online news destinations. And just last month, the Internet giant joined forces with Rodale Inc. (publisher of Men's Health, Women's Health, Prevention, Runner's World and Bicycling magazines) to establish a new health and wellness site expected to launch this fall.
Inbox asked Anne Weintraub, executive editor of Glo, about the new site, digital content and what publishers can learn from Glo's success.
INBOX: How has the partnership with MSN shaped your editorial focus?
WEINTRAUB: MSN is a great partner that shares our commitment to providing an engaging experience for our users. Glo is about everyday inspiration, and our editorial focuses on style, beauty, living and relationships. We take a fresh approach to these topics, keeping the tone light, fun, clever and approachable. We also feature content from HFM U.S. properties, such as ELLE and Woman's Day, as well as from other popular lifestyle sites, including YourTango, Sugar Entertainment, Modelina and Remodelista.
INBOX: What's different about the user experience on a lifestyle destination site like Glo?
WEINTRAUB: Glo combines the imagery, presentation and feel of a magazine with the dynamic appeal of a website, to offer an online destination that is neither traditional Web nor print, but a unique escape for women on the Web. In addition, Glo offers unexpected navigation and functionality features, such as vertical scrolling filled with glossy, full-screen photo galleries, and a scrapbook feature that allows you to save a custom page of your favorite images and ideas from the site, just as if you were tearing them out of a magazine.
INBOX: How are you using video and other multimedia to enhance the user experience on Glo?
WEINTRAUB: We recently launched our first video series entitled "Lighten up Your Summer with Gabby Reece" and have been thrilled with the response. Created in partnership with Vaseline Aloe Fresh, Lighten Up is an original video series featuring Gabby Reece, the celebrated athlete, wife and mom. In the series, Gabby provides tips and advice on how to lighten up your summer on everything from fashion, beauty and relationships to fitness, home decor and entertaining. We're looking forward to developing more original video series. It's critical to growing a broader and more engaged audience, and is integral to our continuing to create a unique lifestyle destination.
INBOX: What has been the response to Glo so far?
WEINTRAUB: In its first two months, visits to Glo have exceeded expectations, with over 5 million unique users in May, per comScore hybrid data. Over this period Glo outperformed its competition, coming in at No. 1 in engagement in the beauty/style/fashion category with over 75 million page views and 15.9 page views per visitor on average. In addition, Glo's unique features have enabled big brands like Fox's Glee, JC Penney and Vaseline to implement a new type of online ad creative typically associated with high-end glossy print magazines.
INBOX: As founding editor of Beautyjungle.com in 1999 and now executive editor of Glo, how would you say the online magazine experience has changed over the past 10 years?
WEINTRAUB: The two main changes I've seen since working on Beautyjungle.com and ELLE.com are the increase in user interactivity and online shopping. The first has grown as social media has evolved, and the second as retailers have focused on their e-commerce strategies. Both are very important for Glo, as we value user engagement and feedback to help shape our editorial offerings and spread the word; plus, our product slideshows offer an editorially curated shopping experience in which users can shop editors' picks of the latest style, beauty and living finds directly from our pages.