What To Expect From Your Digital Magazine
Three years ago, when publishers asked us what to expect from their digital magazine, we weren’t quite sure what to tell them. The industry was so young—and the execution plans used by the publishers so varied—that it was often difficult to know why one digital edition failed while another succeeded.
Fortunately, the industry’s come a long way in a short period of time. The recently published Gilbane Report (http://www.2008gilbanereport.com) on digital magazine trends shows that more than 3,000 magazines now offer a digital edition. With enough critical mass, we’re now at a place where we can predict certain things will happen with most digital magazines. I call these “The 3 Truisms of the Digital Magazine,” and they tend to be accurate for the vast majority of publishers:
1. You will get less traffic in your digital magazine than on your Web site.
In the past few years we’ve learned that people regard a digital magazine much the same they regard a print magazine. They won’t choose to engage with it unless they feel as if they have the time to digest it. Web site visitors have no such concern. They’ll come in expecting to be able to leave quickly. Not surprisingly, they do.
2. The digital magazine traffic you get will stay much longer than on your Web site.
When people go into a digital magazine, they tend to enter “magazine mode,” which means they experience it the same way as they do the print edition. They read most of the content and stay inside the digital magazine for two to four times as long as they stay on your Web site. This shouldn’t be very surprising. Magazines have always been designed to be read cover-to-cover, whereas Web sites are designed so that users can find specific content.
3. The digital magazine traffic you get will click through at a much higher rate than on your Web site.
An interesting quality of an engaged reader is that they are much more likely to click through advertisements than a casual Web visitor. Many publishers find that their digital magazine offers higher click-through rates than their Web site, e-mail newsletters or other digital properties.