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New study on millenials’ social media habits shows content isn’t always king

While most magazines have realized the importance of having a presence on social media, many are still uncertain about how to convert online followers into avid readers and more importantly paid subscribers. Likes and retweets alone will not replace revenue from declining readership. So how important is social media for magazine publishers and how can it help increase revenue?

Enter the new MPA and GfK MRI benchmark study on social media. The study explores the impact of social media on the magazine reading experience among 18-34 year olds who are social media users. Social media and digital device penetration is at its highest among this demographic, with 91 percent using Facebook and 80 percent owning a digital device.

It will come as no surprise that those who consider themselves “avid magazine readers” interact to a much higher degree with magazine content on social networking sites. Or that most millennials who are avid readers use multiple social platforms, and are often chatting with friend on Facebook while reading and sharing magazine articles.

Coupon is king

What might surprise most magazine publishers is that content is not the only king. Both overall magazine readers and avid readers want content that is relevant as well as concrete benefits for their social involvement. When asked why readers follow/would follow a magazine’s Twitter feed, the most selected answer was “for special offers, content or games” (54 percent). When asked the same question about a magazine’s Facebook page, 41 percent said for special contests and games (the second most selected answer).

In addition:

59 percent enter contests on Facebook or Twitter in order to win products or receive discount.

53 percent download coupons from a company’s Facebook page.

51 percent redeem an offer from a company’s Twitter feed or Facebook page.

No rage against the advertiser

Another useful insight is that readers are not against advertisers. When asked which magazine offerings for Twitter or Facebook subscribers would add considerable value to a magazine subscription, 44 percent said special offers from advertiser available only to subscribers (the second most popular offering). Nearly one out of three respondents said they visit/would visit a magazine’s Facebook page for special offers from advertisers or the magazine.

Chris Kevorkian, chief marketing & digital officer at MPA says, “Magazine readers’ receptiveness to advertiser offers on social media reinforces findings from our earlier study that consumers of magazines on digital platforms are open to advertising messages in general. The study shows that more than half (59 percent) want the ability to purchase products directly from ads, and that most of the respondents (73 percent) typically engage with interactive ads”.

Magazines trying to grow their paid subscribers and their social audiences should pay close attention and learn to both give and take.