Personalising Media Publications

Habits have changed


The last 10 years have seen a significant change in the media publishing market. In 2009, the number of magazine launches and closures was significantly higher than it has been since. As fewer publications are launched and more closed, what we are left with is a core group of businesses who are willing to adapt to the changing digital and social climate.

71% of adults in Great Britain consume a magazine brand either in print or digital format. 56% of GB adults 15+ read a print magazine.

UK celebrity magazines such as Heat and Hello! have seen considerable drops in sales, down 16.5% and 15.5% respectively on last year. As consumer attention has increasingly turned towards websites - most prominently, social media - publications which have failed to evolve alongside social and digital advances have fallen by the wayside.

Reading habits of the average consumer are certainly not the same as they once were. 39% of adults in Great Britain consume magazine brands via their PC or mobile device. The rising tide of mobile’s prevalence as the primary channel through which consumers absorb content has forced content creators to tailor their efforts to digital platforms and a smaller screen, with many companies investing heavily in video over recent years.


The old methods are no longer sufficient


Marketers have been testing which headlines and email subject lines attract the most number of clicks through A/B testing for quite some time. This method can be applied to publications however, it’s a rudimentary method of discerning the content that readers find engaging from that which they don’t. It doesn’t offer any form of personalisation to the customer experience, and provides extremely limited insight into an individual’s likes, taste or personality.

Content selection informed by socio-demographic data is also a flawed strategy. The sheer quantity and diversity of content that media publishing companies have at their disposal means that selecting which topics will appeal to certain audiences based on factors such as gender or age is unlikely to ensure target audiences are reached.


New Approaches


If publications are to remain successful, then they need to implement innovative approaches to personalisation and marketing in order to stay ahead of the game. Last year, Aquarius, a Middle-Eastern lifestyle magazine personalised it’s magazine cover for each and every one of its subscribers. The cover, featuring Adele, bore the headline “Hello [First Name], be bold, be strong, be brave.” The magazine was then delivered direct to subscribers’ doors. Whilst this has some novelty value, there is little longevity to plastering a consumer’s name in a display font across a magazine cover page.  It’s the publication equivalent of sending a mass email which auto-fills the recipients’ name via a [First Name] tag.

However, there are other methods that can be deployed. Will Mansfield, Director of Worldwide Sales & Marketing for Kodak explains that publishers can learn more about their individual readers by printing unique codes, either in special editions or on page inserts, which, once entered online, allow the reader access to content that is situated behind a paywall. The unique code allows the publisher to know which customers have engaged with specific content, the idea being that they can then market to them more effectively.

But whilst credit must be given for forward thinking, and an attempt to avoid stagnation, it must also be acknowledged that in this scenario, data insights can only be drawn from those who actively engage with a particular advertisement. The proportion of the readership from whom a business using this method can glean actionable data is limited to those who are interested in an advertisement that is already being pushed to them. This leaves publishers having to be reactive rather than proactive in how they target individuals.


Personalisation is the new norm


The ubiquity of social media has brought with it an unparalleled wealth of user data that businesses are now starting to tap into. Huge swathes of people now get their news updates direct through their newsfeed, as opposed to the traditional news channels.

It should come as no surprise that social media holds the key to true personalisation for publishers and media distribution outlets. Access to this data means that key insights such as an individual’s upcoming life events, hobbies, likes and interests can be drawn almost instantly. The potential benefits of this are astronomical. Publications can tailor their content to an individual’s tastes, and even personality traits, making informed decisions on which headlines, advertisements, images or even full articles are most likely to appeal to someone. This transition from reactive to proactive marketing and content editing empowers businesses to personalise their products and the customer experience before their target audience has engaged with their brand. And in an age of limited attention spans, newsfeeds and quick-fire content, precious seconds of customer engagement with your brand cannot afford to be wasted.

Hello Soda is empowering businesses with this data. Our PROFILE analytics engine is unparalleled, providing the most comprehensive and in depth report of individual consumer likes, interests, hobbies, life events, date of pay and much more. Want to learn more about how we can help? Get in touch to book a demo today.


Author Phillip Gbormittah