[responsive][/responsive]Regular readers of this blog know that we often cite articles from Folio: Their authors generally give solid advice and good information. But we were left scratching our heads by Roy Beagley’s article “Measuring Your Digital Magazine.”
For digital publishers, understanding user metrics is, of course, critical. Beagley starts out by talking about open rates and downloads, which assumes all your readers are getting to your content via email – forget newsstand apps and other digital delivery.
He advises publishers to focus on the people who didn’t open your magazine, rather than taking a deep dive into how the content is actually consumed. Sure, it’s good to know if there are barriers to entry, but isn’t it more important to understand what your actual readers do?
What about digital KPIs like bounce rates, read-through rates (RTRs), engagement time, referral traffic or user device? These solid digital metrics are outlined by ZMags in their article on digital KPIs to measure and can provide true insights into your content and how it’s consumed.
The article gets a little muddier when trying to position digital metrics side-by-side with print.
“Whether it is fair or not, digital magazines get judged differently than print because data is available on digital deployments that is simply not available on magazines deployed by the post office,” Beagley laments.
Absolutely true. They are different. Print magazines have been around a whole lot longer than their digital counterparts, with their own set of measurements on circulation figures, ad-to-edit ratio, etc. There’s no use crying foul because magazines don’t conform to digital KPI standards.
Beagley did get one thing spot on: “A print magazine has an advantage because it can sit on a desk or table and have visibility until the cleaners come, but a digital magazine lurks on a computer and is not as visible. Put simply, people forget.”
That’s the kind of measurement that makes print such a powerful vehicle. It lasts.