As many proponents of the magazine industry say, it's not about paper, it's about communities of interest. In many areas, those communities of interest—and many advertisers—are heading online to get their information and inspiration, so, with pressure on paid-for circulation, it's becoming more important for these titles to have a quality online presence. And two of Tangible Media's titles—Idealog and NZ Fishing World—have responded to those changes with redesigned, responsive websites.
Idealog launched its first website in 2005 and was rebuilt in 2011, but a lot has changed in that time. And its latest redesign by Image Centre Group's digital division has brought it kicking and screaming into the mobile world.
"The iPad launched and so did Windows 8 and pretty much everyone bought a smart phone," says publisher Vincent Heeringa . About a third of our traffic is now mobile, via both phone and tablet, and so the site is responsive to whatever size screen."
He says the world is going visual, so the images are bigger and it's also added full-screen galleries and video.
"And at the same time we’ve introduced more white space and found room for more ad zones too."
"The content’s arranged in a more logical way and more in line with our core editorial strengths. We’ve added better navigation around the site plus a whole new section ‘Trending Topics’ and changed our comments system to Disqus. We’ve fixed our (formerly) stupid sign-up form. We’ve increased our tiny font size. We closed our directory, because in the age of Google directories don’t work except for spam bots. And we’ve made life easier for our lovely staff by simplifying the CMS."
Old siteNew site
While many newspapers put their content online for free and hoped for the best, most magazines have held back—or at least not put all of the content online or created a time barrier by posting it some time after the magazine is released. Idealog has favoured that approach in the past, but it hopes to publish more of its magazine content online sooner and Heeringa says it is getting set to launch Idealog Long Form, "a dynamic way to present feature-style journalism that makes the best of our magazine content but in a totally webby kind of way".
As for traffic, in the last month the site attracted 39,500 unique visitors compared to 13,200 in the same period last year, up 200 percent. It also has 16,015 followers on Twitter.
"With a substantial redesign like this we always expect to take a hit on traffic but the traffic has held up well and we’re expecting to see solid growth, particularly in mobile visitors."
NZ Fishing World has also launched a new, responsive online home and associate publisher Jeff Strang says there is a focus on how-tos, product reviews, destinations and other practical information (he says around 50 percent of the magazine content is put online). It's also about creating a community, so it has also launched a forum called Fish chat, so for all those fish-mad marcomms types trying to fill in their day, it might be worth a visit.
In the first month since launching, publisher John Baker says there has been a 73 percent increase in unique users to just over 12,000 a month and a 70 percent increase in page views to over 35,000.
"Print magazine media is perceived as a 'passive' media, weak at delivering tactical campaigns and content but strong at building brands, trust and long-term demand," he says. "I don’t entirely agree with this but I do see our digital channels are complementary to print, giving us the ability to drive tactical campaign activity within the trust framework, providing more immediate activation opportunities, particularly using native. Social media is the net that drags targeted audience into our content-rich worlds and our experiential campaigns provide our 'super consumers' an opportunity to engage with us and our commercial partners in a very deep and intimate way."
Baker says Tangible Media is investing heavily in video, both for native advertising and campaign activity like that seen for the recent Tourism Australia campaign 'Savour Australia' being run in conjunction with Dish and Yahoo. And NZ Fishing World has dipped its toes in the water with a recent boat review.
- StopPress is part of Tangible Media, which is owned by Image Centre Group.