Grow Your Magazine Readership With Stronger Mobile Publishing Strategy

If magazine publishers want to strengthen engagement with mobile users, then it is important to start thinking about content creation with mobile user behaviour in mind.

Digital behaviour is changing. The consumption of digital media on mobile devices has climbed from 18 minutes per day in 2008 to a staggering 3 hours a day in 2015. Mobile sessions have also become more frequent, with the average user checking their smartphone at least 150 times a day.1 As a result, over the past year alone, websites in the US have witnessed a 20% increase in mobile’s share of online sessions, resulting in conversion rates which have shot up 29% YoY.

It is no longer surprising that more and more people are turning to their mobile devices over desktop as their primary means of consuming digital content. Unlike desktop, smartphones are portable, personal, and always within reaching distance, making them the ideal platform to serve today’s demanding reader habits. Reports have even gone as far as to show that many people suffer from what has been dubbed “smartphone separation anxiety”– a term which was once thrown around mockingly yet can accurately describe the concerns of most smartphone users today. To put it simply; mobiles have become more personal than personal computers.

Google insights have revealed that the ease and efficiency of accessing content on mobile devices today has lead to a decrease in the amount of time and effort users are willing to spend searching for and reading through with mobile content. As the term suggests, many mobile readers are on the go, turning to their device on impulse and engaging with content in the spare moments throughout the day, such as on the train home from work or waiting in line at the grocery store.

With this shifting digital behaviour in mind, publishers need to rethink the way they engage their readers on mobile.

Here are 4 tips to keep in mind which will help you get started.

1. Update your publishing strategy

Many publishers are already making their content available to digital audiences, having replicated their print magazines, guides, reports, catalogues, or newsletters online as flipbooks. The problem is that most of these digital products were created primarily with desktop in mind. As you can imagine, the desktop experience when shrunk down on small screen smartphones and tablets is bound to leave readers dissatisfied. In fact, you may even be driving loyal readers away, with Google reporting that only 9% of users will stay on a mobile site if it is hard to find information or doesn’t allow for easy navigation.

The most effective ways your magazine publication can be optimised for mobile is by:

  • Restructuring your publication into smaller, more manageable elements, such as individual articles.
  • Ensuring your content is reflowable and responsive across different size screens and orientations. Do away with the concept of a ‘page’ as this print mindset will only limit your and creativity on mobile. This way readers can also avoid the need to continuously zoom in and out, and flick between pages to read what they are after.
  • Incorporating navigational and functionality shortcuts into your mobile edition. Keep in mind that readers will spend shorter periods of time engaged on mobile that they will on desktop, this is why it is so important that your mobile strategy is set up to deliver content, information, and services as quickly and easily as possible.
  • Reimagining the way you create your content from the outset, with mobile in mind. Incorporate optimised multimedia elements into your articles, such as videos, image galleries, and interactive maps to delight and inspire your readers.

Adopting a mobile publishing strategy that applies these 5 techniques will be sure to elevate your magazine readership to the next level and provide your audience with a highly engaging experience on their mobile devices.

2. Amplify your best content 

When you transform your static publication into responsive, reflowable articles for mobile, you will discover that you suddenly have a lot more control over how you manage and organise your digital content. This means that you have the flexibility to rearrange and rework your articles ongoing to ensure that your publication always stays fresh and relevant, even if you only publish one issue a year!

Better yet, keep an eye on your analytics tracking to determine which articles have received the most hits and pull these together into special mobile-only issues. This way, readers can access all of your best content in one easy location.

The mobile content boom has opened the doors for publishers to think outside of the box when it comes to how to creatively distribute, market, and leverage their digital publications. Make sure pay attention to your analytics tracking data to discover what content strategies your readers best respond to.

3. Mobile-first does not mean mobile-only. Promote cross-platform interaction.

Leading your content efforts with mobile should not mean you drop the ball when it comes to other digital platforms. While many readers are turning to smartphones as their preferred method of consuming content, Google reports that many will continue switch between mobile and desktop to complete different tasks, for example to subscribe or to otherwise make payments. Maintaining responsive design and functionality across desktop and mobile will ensure your readers have a pleasant and consistent experience across all platforms and devices.

You can engage your readers on mobile creatively by planning cross platform promotional strategies. For example, you can publish teasers for special ‘mobile-only’ articles in your print or desktop edition. Keep in mind that most users will abandon a site if it takes them too long to find what they are looking for, so why not advertise a keyword that readers can SMS to be delivered the article straight to their smartphone. Not only does this allow for a better user experience across all mediums, but the content incentives you put forth will help drive more print readers to your mobile publication.

4. Personalise content and experience.

Serving readers content that is personalised to their needs, interests, or location will elevate your mobile publication to the next level and provide readers with a pleasant and highly engaging user experience. It can be something as simple as letting readers adjust text size and font styling to their preference, making the articles easier to read on their smartphone. Keep readers immersed in your content by offering related article suggestions. Not only will readers be able to navigate between articles with ease, but tracking this behaviour will help you strengthen and target your content marketing efforts. Adding personalised shortcuts like bookmarks to your mobile edition will help readers sort and preserve articles for future reference, and can retrieve them in a few simple clicks.

Personalise a reader’s experience based on their location by tapping into mobile’s inbuilt GPS functionality. This technology can be highly effective for publications that are produced globally or have subject matter related specific regions, such as travel guides. By incorporating location detection into your mobile publishing strategy you can choose to serve your articles in the language of that region. Consumers are more likely to click through on ads and sponsored content that provides them with information that is of value to them. So serving ads that are relevant to the reader’s location will drive up conversion rates.

Being able to anticipate a user’s behaviour before they make it is a  to deliver a personalised experience is one of the most effective ways of engaging mobile readers. Given that mobile users on average have a shorter attention span and tolerance for lengthy processes when searching for information and content, it makes sense to explore mobile strategies that focus on immediately connecting readers to the information and services that they need.

5. Send out notifications the ‘mobile’ way.

Considering that 90% of all text messages are read within the first 3 seconds*, it makes sense for publishers to explore SMS marketing as a way of effectively connecting with mobile readers.

While email is the tried and true method that many publishers turn to to push out updates and distribute new content to their readers, it falls short when the objective is driving immediate engagement. It is easy for your marketing emails to get lost within the endless well of promotion or spam folders, with most people rarely ever checking them. Sending out a SMS blast to your reading list is a highly effective way of keeping your audience up to date when a new issue is released. Furthermore, SMS is also the perfect method for sending out time sensitive messages, such as promotional offers, voucher codes, and other subscriber benefits.

Plan your SMS marketing strategy wisely and aim to send out your messages during times that your market will likely be most responsive. If your messages wake people up at the crack of dawn you risk people unsubscribing from your mailing list. Likewise, sending out SMS messages during peak hour are more likely to be brushed over. Pay attention to your response rates and plan your SMS strategy accordingly.

Engaging your readers more effectively on mobile is easy when you have the tools, resources, and guidance to set a plan in action. If you want to learn more about creating a mobile strategy for your publication that appeals to the evolving behaviours of today’s mobile readers, and delivers fast responsive content to the booming mobile market, then click through to find out how you can take the next step.

Additional Sources

1. Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, 2013 Internet Trends Report.

* Intelligence Review 2nd Edition of Dynmark