Online Magazine Publishing Is Facing a Discoverability Issue

Getting found is important for all marketeers and publishers engaged in online magazine publishing. But inside a walled garden like Newsstand, discoverability is largely driven by your existing outside reputation

Enter the walled garden such as the Apple Newsstand and look around the homepage. You’ll notice a perfectly manicured collection of well-known brands familiar to anyone who has ever browsed a traditional newsstand full of magazines printed on paper.

This tiny sampling of product is usually made up of only well-known, large brands. It’s the “Rodeo Drive” of magazine racks. The online market is not like a shopping mall where you’re ensured your kiosk will have some, even a minimal amount, of foot traffic.

In the online marketplace, a potential customer has to know where to find you and once they know this, they then have to come looking for you.  You can hope they’ll stumble upon you by some act of fate (in the guise of a recommendation engine,) but hope isn’t a viable strategy.

If you have zero visibility, being inside the walled garden means nothing. Douglas McCabe, COO of Enders Analysis, a leading online entertainment market research organization, recently spoke in London about case-study statistics that clearly show half of Amazon shoppers arrive onsite already having chosen what they’re going to purchase.

That’s huge! We’re talking about 50 percent who don’t read any of the forced marketing, nor do they click through on any links in the sidebar. These folks are only there to buy then fly.

In addition, only 10 percent of books sold on Amazon are purchased because of their ‘bought this/also bought that’ recommendation engine. A tiny three percent purchase something because it was found amongst  the sea of all the other titles listed within a certain browsing category. According to McCabe:

“Amazon is a destination for purchase, the place you funnel your fans to, not a discovery mechanism in and of itself. People are simply not browsing for books based on Amazon’s recommendations, not in any significant numbers.”

Walled gardens such as Amazon and Apple’s Newsstand specialize in content saturation while putting the onus of discovery on the content creator. This poses a serious challenge, especially if your resources are limited to begin with.

The way you compete in a crowded market is to personalize the user experience. You can achieve this by leveraging your online magazine as part of an overall content strategy — one that involves driving your audience to your branded website or community.

The inalienable truth is that people can’t consume your content if they can’t find it. The most powerful discovery mechanism for your magazine already exists. It is Google. It is Bing. It is every other search engine available.

There is a large benefit to be gained from taking advantage of web app publishing technology. In the very near future, content from the pages of magazines published as web apps will begin showing up in Google searches and other SERPs. This is huge!

Search engines returning results found from inside publications will only drive more and more traffic from those eager to find out more. The app-within-another-app method of magazine publishing doesn’t offer anything comparable in terms of searchability.

Half of all online consumers already know what they want. Reviews, social media and word of mouth is what drives audiences and consumers.

It used to be that your brand was only as strong as its ability to be discovered. Now common wisdom dictates your brand is only as strong as the stories people tell about you. Social media already offers better and stronger tools to create awareness and consideration than any walled garden.

Web app magazine publishing is the future and the future is now. It’s all about better choices, fewer middlemen, faster publishing and the ease of use.

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Builder. Marketer. Technologist. CEO @Readz brand publishing | SixDegrees word-of-mouth | organicfoodie wine-enthusiast | way-of-no-way | father-husband Los Angeles · about.me/bartdp