This post is by Clare Hill from the Content Marketing Association.
The most recent ABC results are another testament to the crucial role of magazines as a medium within the content marketing discipline. As content marketing budgets increase and the importance of the value exchange between brands and consumers grows, it's an opportunity to celebrate the success of print titles in engaging millions of readers on behalf of brands.
The top three in the UK's top 100 magazines are titles from content marketing budgets – ASDA, Tesco & Morrison's – and they reach a whopping 5.2million people each month. Five out of the top 10 titles, equating to 61% of sales, are from the same budget line, while eight out of the top 15 titles also sit in the branded content category – that's a circulation figure of eight million.
Within these impressive figures are some stand out examples – Waitrose, a paid-for-product, is yet again the title with the single biggest growth out of the top 100, up 65% YOY to 680,925, and far exceeds the rate of growth across any other magazine title. The number one title across the UK is ASDA Magazine, reaching 1.8m people with a growth of 1.7% YOY.
But it's not just supermarket brands which are spending content marketing budgets on magazines. Other verticals are too. My VIP, from the retailer Pets at Home, is a new entrant into the market with an impressive 674,075 circulation. A major sporting launch from Sports Direct with Haymarket's Forever Sports has debuted with a figure of 62,277. The fashion industry is also recognising the value of content marketing through magazines – notably with Net-A-Porter's Porter magazine, which will record its first ABC next February.
A special mention should go to the content marketing agencies behind these magazines – experts such as Publicis Blueprint, Cedar, John Brown Media and Seven (I'm proud to say CMA members are responsible for four out of the top 10 titles!).
There is a growing presence of magazines funded by content marketing budgets within the UK magazine publishing industry. There is an explanation for this – research from content marketing agency Seven showed that 57% of consumers feel more positive towards brand that generate content for them. The same research also revealed that the UK content marketing industry is worth £4 billion so we expect to see magazines backed by content marketing budgets entering the market.
We're excited too that established UK publishers are embracing the content marketing discipline, demonstrated by IPC Media's move to join the CMA. Print magazines are a vital part of the media mix, but maybe the way in which we engage with them is shifting. Consumers are ready to engage in content from their favourite trusted brands so we may well see more magazines from brands on the newsstands. Watch this space, but one thing is for sure – the power of magazines for brands to reach consumers should be celebrated.
Clare Hill is Managing Director of the Content Marketing Association.
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