What Users Want From Your Online Magazine

What Users Want From Your Online Magazine


How can you make your online magazines must read for your core audience? There’s no real mystery. Just like other pieces of content marketing, creating readership is about figuring out what readers want and giving it to them. As we’ve said before, online magazines are an essential part of your content strategy. We’re not the only ones to think so; the research supports it. Here are some of the key statistics:

  • Research from Pew Internet shows that online newsreading is a key activity for almost two thirds of smart phone and tablet owners.
  • A study by the Association of Magazine Media showed that 63% of the 1009 adults polled wanted more online content and 55% enjoyed looking into online archives in a magazine.
  • In the UK, another survey of 2000 consumers showed that 19% read magazines on tablets, with higher percentages in the 18 to 24 age group. Around 6% of consumers subscribed to an online magazine.

So it’s clear that  web users want to read online publications, and often on mobile devices. Brands (and publishers for that matter) who produce online editions of print publications are already seeing increases in the number of subscribers to online editions.

What else do users want from online magazines? They want them to be readable, interactive and shareable.

1. Readability

The trouble with many online magazines is that they don’t work well on mobile devices. That might be because brands don’t choose the right magazine publishing software:

  • some brands use PDFs as a default without realizing that the inability to easily resize text and navigate the documents is a major disadvantage for readers.
  • others use a flipbook platform which results in text that is either too small or too large, with nothing in between.

Your customers need their online magazine to be available in a format that works well with their devices. A survey by ABM showed that business readers would be more engaged if online editions of magazines were available and if they were better optimized for mobile viewing, interactive (we’ll get to that in a minute), and had unique content.

With the right magazine publishing software, content will look great and load quickly (another concern for mobile device users.)

2. Interactivity

The ‘wrong’ links may have got a bad rep in terms of Google’s SEO guidelines, but readers still want to be able to follow links from their online magazines. In fact, they want those magazines to be interactive – and that includes the ads.

  • The UK survey cited earlier found that many people wanted interactivity in their advertisements so they could click on them and be taken straight to a sales page.
  • Research from GfK MRI supported the idea of clicking to buy within a magazine and found that 70% of tablet magazine readers wanted personalized ads.

As well as clickable links, online magazines should also incorporate mobile video, as huge numbers of mobile device users watch online video. People want the same interactivity they get when using a PC; they just want content to be mobile optimized.

3. Shareability

Our own research shows that throughout the day, mobile device users share content on social media. And we’re not the only ones to discover this. A study by MPA shows that among the 18 to 34 segment the ability to share magazine content is crucial. That’s why it’s essential to embed social sharing tools into your online magazine. Sometimes readers just want to share a single article or excerpt, rather than the whole publication. Enabling this functionality in your online magazines will make them more popular. It’s a win for marketers, too, allowing them to track how readers engage with content.

readership on digital magazines

What Else Do Online Magazine Readers Want?

Readers want it all. Just as a print magazine includes everything from horoscopes, letters and quizzes to in-depth interviews and features, an online magazine has to cater to readers who want short snippets and long-form content, what Jay Baer calls feathers and bricks. While you’re at it, make sure your online magazine is easy to save and searchable – two more things that readers want, according to research from texterity.

It is clear from all the research that online magazine readers have become more sophisticated and know exactly what they want. As marketers and publishers it is our job to give it to them. Online magazines are a cost effective and eco-friendly marketing tool and the right magazine publishing software (like Readz) can help you meet your readers’ needs.

You have seconds to grab and hold the attention of your prospects. Learn more about how to stand out, improve customer communications and make the best of your online custom magazines!

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Builder. Marketer. Technologist. CEO @Readz | The one-stop solution for brands to create interactive brand content for the web | organic foodie beerie | paleo | cyclist | Los Angeles