Magazine Metrics go Digital-Industry Standards to Follow

Today we’re featuring guest blogger, Ed Hewett. Ed is a product manager who supports Adobe Online Marketing Suite, Ominture SiteCatalyst, with a specific focus on digital publishing. Take it away, Ed!

When was the last time you picked up a magazine? How did you access the content? Which ads did you see? What content keeps you coming back?

Over the last decade, asking and answering questions like these has become commonplace for marketers as online marketing tools like analytics, targeting, and remarketing have improved the way we deliver web experiences. However, for magazine publishers, questions like these have remained challenging to answer. Can you imagine not knowing which articles or pages on your website are being accessed? Painful! Fortunately, that’s all changing.

Magazines go Digital

Over the last year and a half, magazine publishers have been aggressively pursuing opportunities presented by the explosive growth of tablet and digital reading devices in the market (Apple sold 9.25 million iPads in last quarter alone). These devices offer an opportunity to deliver a truly unique content experience; and, as I’ve pointed out in other posts, delivering the right experience to the right device can have significant positive impact on user interactions.

While we know users interact with each medium differently (print, web, mobile, digital magazines, etc.), delivering the right content in the right format while remaining profitable in each channel can be a daunting task. That’s why the new medium (tablet and digital reading devices) requires a new strategy.

To address, publishers like Condé Nast have started delivering digital editions of their printed magazines to tablet devices. Using a content creation process simplified by Adobe’s Digital Publishing Suite, publishers are able to deliver rich content experiences differentiated from print OR online content.

In many respects, digital magazine editions offer the best mix of both print and online formats. Magazine content may be purchased and accessed like printed editions while retaining the rich content and interactivity of online experiences. It’s a win-win for readers and publishers alike.

Metrics go Digital

With the move to digital magazine editions, publishers have not only unlocked a truly unique content experience but also accessed insights into how users interact with digital magazine content. With the analytics included in digital magazines, publishers can still deliver top-line metrics about the size of their magazine audience as with print; but they can also delve into details about how users interact with articles, ads, and other magazine content. Among other benefits, insights gained help publishers and advertisers improve magazine content for readers.

In fact, measuring digital magazine usage has already yielded publishers a rich harvest of insight into magazine usage which wasn’t available a year ago. One of the top findings? Digital magazine usage is distinctly different from patterns established in both online web browsing and offline magazine reading.

Last week, I attended a breakfast hosted by Condé Nast where they announced emerging trends and key metrics they are using to drive insight for their digital magazine editions. Condé Nast is an early leader in creating digital editions of their magazines and now has nine titles available on the iPad. As you can see from the chart below, user interactions on digital editions are distinct from both print and web.

Industry Standards?

In collaboration with Adobe, Condé Nast also kicked off a discussion around what metrics publishers and advertisers should standardize on to be successful in this new medium. You can find the press release here: Condé Nast and Adobe Collaborate to Define Metrics for Magazine Digital Editions.

The key metrics suggested by Condé Nast and Adobe include metrics from the print world like circulation as well as metrics from the online world like engagement (you can see the full list of metrics in the screenshot below or by reading the press release). While many of these metrics will sound familiar, they have characteristics unique to digital editions and we will continue to work with Condé Nast to identify and refine these metrics.

While the digital magazine publishing and advertising industry has a long way to go before digital edition metrics are standardized, the collaboration between Adobe and Condé Nast marks a crucial first step.

So, what metrics do you think should be industry standard for digital publications? Join the discussion by adding your comment below or by reaching out to us at

You can also read more about our collaboration with Condé Nast in these articles:
Adweek: Condé Nast to release tablet metrics Condé Nast And Adobe Try To Get A Handle On Digital Mag Metrics
Folio: Collaborating with Adobe, Conde to share metrics with publishers, advertisers
emedia vitals: Condé Nast, Adobe promote new metrics for digital editions



  • By Vonnie Diehl - 9:06 AM on January 11, 2013  

    Let me know if I can use Adobe Digital Edition to read e-mag issues and how do I get them to download to Adobe Digital? Can I buy a magazine on line and have it downloaded directly into Adobe Digital? Can I buy a book from say book nook and download it. Can I borrow from my local library and download to read?