Digital has changed the way we live our lives, there’s no denying it. It is part of our everyday. You take a trip on the tube and most people there will have headphones in, staring at a screen (I’m normally one of them). Take a walk down the street and it will probably look the same. Most people have a smartphone now. We bank on them, they remind us of things, wake us up in the morning, hold important medical data, send us news real time, let us stream music & TV, allow us to talk to people across the world, capture memories and a whole lot more on one single device. It was only the other day my housemates were saying they find most of their celebrity news through Snapchat. How many people have an Amazon Alexa or Google home now? We can get pretty much anything we could possibly need in life (literally) on Amazon. You get my drift.
And whilst that is all great, there are many downsides to this. Some industries have really struggled to keep up and adapt. Most magazine and news titles are online now, we have everything at our fingertips. Readership in previously popular titles has declined whilst society navigates its way through this digital age. We’ve seen a rise of influencers sharing products and reviews, real time. I still love picking up a magazine and losing myself for half an hour in it but the reality is, we are in a time of change. We are changing the way we consume media. And that doesn’t mean to say nobody reads magazines anymore because they do, but society is changing.
I remember when GLAMOUR announced its plans to cut down its print issues to two per year, becoming a digital-focused brand whilst increasing their beauty offering. It was almost a sad time to see a publication have to do this because of the world we are now in. I wasn’t sure how this one would play out, we see and consume so much in one day, is it really possible to break through that? But I think they’ve done something really quite brilliant that we can all learn from.
Two print copies per year. A digital-first approach.
A digital-first approach with a seven day Instagram Stories schedule for their followers to see a variety of content, themed throughout the week. Bite-sized, fun content for followers to engage with including ‘Glam Drop’ (featuring products going on shelf that week), ‘Backstage Beauty’ (taking followers behind the scenes at Fashion Week) and ‘Wellness Wednesday’ (featuring tips on health and wellbeing) whilst beauty editor, Lottie Winter runs ‘Lottie Tries’ (where she samples products and treatments). Each week, the stories are pinned to their profile to allow anyone to view them at any point. This is on top of interviews, video how-tos, product reviews, launches and more on their main grid.
But don’t fret, the magazine still exists monthly, just online!
The magazine still exists online, all is not lost – you just need to go to the old World Wide Web to read the articles instead. The same content, just online. You no longer need to worry about it not being the same either, this week saw the launch of the first ever digital cover featuring Gwyneth Paltrow. It’s an interesting concept having the whole thing operating digitally.
Ok, I hear some people reading this tutting, this is all great but is it actually doing anything? Impressively, since moving to this approach, GLAMOUR have seen click-throughs to their own content shared on Instagram Stories increase by 1200% with a 94% retention rate. That’s pretty massive. And if that wasn’t enough, they have increased their number of online readers by 22%. Impressive stuff.
What I find fascinating…
What I find so fascinating about this is that the magazine has turned something negative into a space to do something different. It is hard to catch up and attract new readers to titles like GLAMOUR when you have influencers and Instagram to play with. But they have used bite-sized, instant content and the power of Instagram to their advantage and by the stats above, it seems to be working. With Instagram shopping and the ‘Swipe Up’ feature, everything is integrated. Followers can go straight to articles that interest them.
It is opening up conversations surrounding beauty and other topics. Funnily enough, I had never thought of following a magazine title on social media. I don’t know why, it has never come to mind. But I quite like this new approach. And others are doing very similar things, Cosmopolitan being one. Cosmopolitan is still in print but the digital strategy idea is still there. The magazine is connecting with viewers with how they are living their lives. And then cleverly, by having these followers, GLAMOUR also have access to an interesting set of data. Lifestyle and audience data, who are their followers, what interests them, where they are from and more. This could be an interesting tool should they use it for advertising in the future.
Part of me feels slightly sad about this move. It does make me wonder whether this will be the future. Where will we be in 10 years? Will the younger generation know and appreciate waiting for the monthly magazine to arrive on the doormat? It raises the troubling question regarding journalism jobs……this is all brilliant but in the long run but will they be hiring more digital roles as opposed to journalism and what will that do the quality and reliability of the content? Can they maintain the unique part about them or will they just get lost in the long Instagram feed?
Will any brands learn from this approach? Who knows, but I know for sure this is something I’ll be keeping my eye on.
See the October issue here.
Stats taken from The Drum.