Turning Magazines into Money has never been Harder. But there are some simple things you can do to monetise your digital editions.

Most magazine publishers find digital strategies challenging. Particularly those that have been traditionally print editions. It’s understandable – the lustre of the launch of the iPad, alongside the early expectations that tablets would be the magazine industry’s panacea for declining print sales, has long since worn off, best illustrated by Apple’s retiring of the Newsstand in 2015.

So, what now? The simple answer is that while there is no “one size fits all” solution for every magazine publisher, there are some basic rules of thumb that every publisher can follow, as well as monetization models that work better for certain publishers.

  • Free content is ubiquitous. Do not try to package and monetize content that a reader can very easily find elsewhere for free. This only serves to devalue your brand.
  • Keep things simple. The success of media service providers like Netflix and Spotify is in no small part due to the fact they have very simple, easy-to-understand pricing models that give the user a clear idea of what they’re paying and what they’re getting. An overcomplicated subscription model helps no one.
  • Make sure your marketing is reflecting your development and strategy. Be as loud as possible about your digital strategy and aim to cross-fertilise different types of audiences in both print and digital to get a better idea of their idiosyncrasies.
  • Use push notifications with your magazine app sparingly. If users are bombarded with redundant push notifications while on their mobile devices, they’ll simply ignore them in the future – or worse – delete your app, and cancel their subscription.
  • Use multiple media channels, also commonly called “omni-channel marketing”. Make sure that when a new edition goes live, all your social media channels, as well as traditional channels like your website, are all singing the same song.
  • Become acquainted with App Store Optimization or “ASO”, as it is more commonly referred to. This is the app store equivalent to SEO and allows you to gain maximum possible exposure.


The most important thing to remember is to target your content to a specific audience that finds real value in what you have to offer. the greater the value to your readers, the greater the amount you can charge them for subscriptions. There are digital magazines that eager subscribers pay hundreds, even thousands of dollars a year for access.

Particularly with Business Magazines it boils down to ROI – what is the reader going to get in return for their subscription. For instance, a high value idea might be worth tens or hundreds of thousand of dollars to a business, so a few hundred dollars for the subscription provides an enormous ROI.

Too many publishers are still targeting their digital magazines at the bottom end of the market to try and get more readers in order to attract advertisers. On the surface it might look impressive to have tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands or even millions of subscribers, but unless those readers find value in the magazine, the questions remains, “will advertisers find value in paying to appear in the publication?”

In digital editions that question should be easier to answer with highly detailed and targeted analytics available to publishers. These analytics provide proof of ROI. Though often we see publishers treating their digital editions an add-ons to print, publishing them on platforms that fail to provide the analytics advertisers need to justify their advertising investment.

Monetising your digital magazines relies heavily of proof of engagement and the value readers place on the content.

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