Audience research helps SPH Magazines compete for multi-media advertising

By Hafizah Hazahal

SPH Magazines

Singapore, Singapore


In the face of disruption from digital giants such as Facebook and Google, magazine media has to dig deep within itself for its unique selling point and find itself as a lean-forward media with its coveted audience. 

In SPH Magazines’ previous blog post, however, we also acknowledged it is essentially still a numbers game, and advertisers are ultimately looking for media placements that allow them to reach more consumers at a lower cost.

This would have previously put magazine media — notwithstanding the rich, high-involvement experience it offers to readers — at a natural disadvantage, save for innovations in amplifying its reach and extending the experience for its consumers.

SPH Magazines’ Women’s Network amplifies reach for its partners.
SPH Magazines’ Women’s Network amplifies reach for its partners.

Amplifying reach through reader aggregation

SPH Magazines’ extensive magazine portfolio allows us to fluidly aggregate different audience segments to suit a client’s brief. At its core are three main audience networks spanning key consumer segments in the region — namely women’s, men’s, and luxury.

Our Women’s Network is an amalgamation of 13 leading women’s lifestyle titles in Singapore, offering advertisers a reach of 2.2 million avid shoppers, fashion and beauty trend followers, brides-to-be, mothers, and working professionals.

The Men’s Network connects advertisers with hard-to-reach male consumers in Asia. Offering a combined reach of 2.7 million, it targets fitness and health buffs, affluent car lovers, home owners, IT enthusiasts, and professionals.

The Luxury Circle, a network of 13 luxury titles across Asia, offers marketers a select audience of high net-worth individuals in the region including C-suite professionals and socialites.

The SPH Magazines Women’s Network

These networks are not just established on a single media platform; they span print, digital, Web, and events. This means that for each magazine brand, advertisers are able to reach audiences unique to each platform.

This is the essence of the 360 solutions plan that is the modus operandi of SPH Magazines today. Altogether, these audience networks not only offer depth of reach — with targeted, quality audience synonymous with magazine media — but also breadth in the sheer scale of reach.

Single production multiple deployment

Take the example of NatureNip, a health supplement advertiser: It was able to reach 904,000 readers by leveraging on the Women’s Network, compared to 646,000 if it were to buy into a single title (Her World).

Using the same creative, NatureNip was able to broadcast its message across Her World, Simply Her, Shape, and Nuyou, targeting females aged 20 to 50. The content was also adapted as online advertorial on these titles’ Web properties.

Taking advantage of the Women’s Network, NatureNip reached more than 900,000 readers.
Taking advantage of the Women’s Network, NatureNip reached more than 900,000 readers.

Thus, the advantages of audience networks do not just stop at maximising reach and targeting capabilities; advertisers will also be able to benefit from lower production costs as they can adapt the same creative to reach more readers across platforms.

The importance of context and being anywhere, anytime

SPH Magazines has made a resolute shift toward the digital space, bringing its legacy print content onto digital editions and the Web. Not just a replication of print, the digital content experience is thoughtfully crafted with the needs and expectations of a digital reader in mind. This evolution is motivated by the media habits of consumers today.

Consumers are no longer getting content from a single media. At different times of the day, consumers engage with different media platforms that suit the context (such as where they are) and purpose (what they want to accomplish).

A study by Time Inc. in the United Kingdom has documented how its readers engage with content on various platforms as suited to the context and mindset they are in at different times of the day.

Because readers use different devices and platforms at different times of day, it is important that messaging is placed in various locations.
Because readers use different devices and platforms at different times of day, it is important that messaging is placed in various locations.

In the morning, readers are typically in a rush to get to wherever they need to be and start the day. While commuting, readers get up to speed with the happenings from the night before that they have missed, usually through social media channels on their mobile devices.

During the day, while at work, readers are typically time-deprived and accessing content through their office desktops and mobile. As the day ends, while relaxing at home, readers are on an “escapist” mode and, with more time to spare, they engage with content from a variety of platforms — on print, tablet, and mobile.

Through our own study, we found that our female readers engage with different “screens” for different purposes. Smartphones serve as a means to stay connected while tablets are used more for entertainment. Desktops/laptops seem to be where purchases happen.

Women use tablets for entertainment but desktop computers to make purchases.
Women use tablets for entertainment but desktop computers to make purchases.

These studies shed light on two things:

  1. Readers seek content from multiple media platforms and devices depending on the time of day, which is closely intertwined with the context and/or mindset they are in.

  2. Readers seek different kinds of content on different devices. This may be a result of the match between types of content and the physical and technological attributes of the devices.

For example, the smartphone, typically carried by users throughout the day, lends itself to social networking. The larger-screened yet portable tablet makes it perfect for streaming videos as users can lean back while watching — making it a highly popular device during downtime at the end of the day. The desktop is the preferred platform to make online transactions such as e-commerce and banking, possibly because the needed infrastructure is still not suitably optimised for mobile devices.

It is thus imperative that publishers break out of the single-platform operation and distribute their content across as many channels as possible. This ensures the content on offer is easily accessible to readers anywhere, at any time of the day.

Increasing readers’ touch points

Recognising this, SPH Magazines is embarking on strategic partnerships to further extend its distribution channels with the objective of bringing its content closer to more readers.

Currently, it has inked partnerships with various lifestyle, hospitality, and retail outlets such as cafes, malls, hotels, and hair salons to host its content through a digital library named The Wifi Library.

These partners were chosen so as to reach potential readers during their downtime when they are most receptive. Leveraging on the availability of wireless networks at these places, SPH Magazines sought to distribute its suite of more than 100 digital magazines to these captive audience — right to their personal devices.

What does it mean for advertisers?

Being a legacy publisher, SPH Magazines is continuously reinventing itself to be in a better position to ride on challenges and convert them into opportunities. Through reader aggregation and partnerships, SPH Magazines can now offer advertisers a wide audience reach that spans the region while targeting specific consumer segments.

Through our 360 marketing solutions, advertisers are able to amplify their message across multiple touch points. Now, they can also reach audiences at various lifestyle, hospitality, and retail outlets across the region.

Our previous blog post highlights the strengths of magazine as an advertising media, which are rooted in the unique profile and predispositions of its readers. The challenge today is that, as content gets distributed on more platforms than ever, publishers risk losing their readers.

To meaningfully compete and thrive in this fragmented media landscape, SPH Magazines has pushed ahead with amplifying our reach and value-adding our content to ensure the best experience for our readers. 

About Hafizah Hazahal

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