The SPH Magazines Transformation Journey: Content Enriching the Consumer Journey

(This article was first published on INMA on 25th September 2016)

*This is the last part of the SPH Magazines Transformation Journey blog series. Read the first and second part here.

As a publisher, content is at the heart of what we at SPH Magazines do. While we have scaled our audiences by creating networks that cut across titles and came up with innovative distribution channels, at the end of the day the content has to be captivating enough to maintain and grow the reader base.

Readers’ and advertisers’ expectations have changed: a complete experience for the former and conversion for the latter are expected – preferably all on the same platform or device. Especially in Singapore where consumer confidence is subdued, brand owners are under pressure and expect campaigns to boost sales. As a result, expectations on media is not just at the start of the sales funnel i.e. awareness and consideration, but also all the way through to conversion. If that’s not challenging enough, in today’s fragmented media landscape, traditional media is probably at the nadir of consumers’ trust.


Can magazines deliver?

According to Edelman Trust Barometer, trust in traditional media as a source of news and information has been declining. Somewhere between 2014 and 2015, it has been bypassed by online search engines.


However, if we delve into magazine media specifically, we find that magazine readers have a special relationship with the media. They view magazines as a trusted source of information – a finding that is replicated across several research studies around the world.

In a survey of Femina (weekly magazine) readers in Indonesia, most of the motivations for reading it were centred around the magazine providing tips and information and helping them to relax. Similar results were recorded in a Belgium study which surveyed a large sample of French-speaking adults on their motivations for consuming various media. Both studies were reported in FIPP’s Proof of Performance Report 2014 which stands to make a case for magazine media.

In our own study (done in collaboration with GfK Singapore) across more than 3,500 readers of 10 key women’s lifestyle magazines in Singapore, we found that readers saw magazines as a valuable source of new information. What is even more intriguing is that not only do they trust editorial articles, but the trust also spills over to advertisements. This is a key unique attribute of magazine readers compared to audiences of other media.


Grounded by such a relationship of trust, magazines are hence well-placed vis-à-vis other media to complete the sales funnel and deliver conversions.


Completing the sales funnel

At SPH Magazines, we work our content hard and are committed to investing in technologies that help us to do so. Our digital editions are built with various enhancements that keep readers engaged and enable brands to deliver their messages effectively, even allowing conversions to take place directly.


Digital Edition Creatives

Galleries: Allow brands to add more images without being bound by the limits of page space. The more visuals there are, the greater the opportunity to impress and persuade readers to consider the brand.


Readers can tap on the gallery button to view more images and return to the article page with a single tap.

Videos: The content format of choice today, delivers the brand message in an arresting manner. It is especially effective in demonstrating product performance, helping readers to evaluate the product without having to make a trip down to a physical store.


Videos can be set to either autoplay or played upon tapping.

URL enhancements: Allow brands to bring readers to an existing website or a specially-created micro-site or landing page, opening up a myriad of creative opportunities. For example, brands can create a (branded) quiz which can help to boost brand awareness, whereas accessing the brand website through the ad makes it easier for readers to get more information. When they are done, readers can easily resume reading the magazine with a single tap.


Interstitials: Interstitials are developed using HTML 5 which allows the brand to achieve full interactivity of a web page within a digital magazine. It can host videos, galleries and other forms of interactive media within a single page.


As all SPH Magazines digital editions support HTML pages, the same interstitial can be placed across titles without going through multiple rounds of production. Moreover, it can be adapted and redeployed across mediums – over digital, web and on print, fully facilitating a 360 reach for marketers.

These interactive features help to bring brands closer to consumers at various stages of the consumer journey. Beyond piquing their interest and prolonging engagement time with the advertisement, at the end of the day by offering more information, we facilitate readers’ purchase decisions – either in future or immediately.


E-commerce: Universal Checkout

To enable immediate purchase, we developed an e-commerce store called SheShops which can be linked to our digital editions through a buy button. SheShops features multiple international merchants, creating a one-stop shop for customers to browse across merchants, place all items into a single shopping cart, and checkout through a single entry.



Buy buttons that bring readers to checkout page on SheShops with a single tap.

By incorporating buy buttons into our digital editions, we complete the shopping experience for readers, bringing them through from awareness to purchase.


Augmented Reality

This enriching and immersive reading experience is not limited to our digital editions. Through Augmented Reality technology we are able to come full circle, going back to our roots and making our print content “come alive”. Using an AR app called ScanZine, readers simply have to scan the printed page and the digital element will launch on their device. The digital element can be bonus content not offered on print such as videos, and can even link readers to the brand website or straight to the checkout page.



And there we have it, the SPH Magazines’ Transformation Journey blog series. At the start of this series we asked “…how do we, as a legacy publisher, compete with digital media companies that offer innovations that attract advertisers away from us?” For us, the solution lies in continuous innovation in the areas of audience, brand and content to deliver on our promise – being “anytime, anywhere”.

By aggregating our audiences into networks, we are able to deliver quality reach at scale across titles and platforms to advertisers – with just a single order. This is further amplified through innovative distribution channels such as targeting prospective readers at various lifestyle, hospitality and retail outlets. At the same time, we ensure that content and brand messages are delivered effectively by incorporating technologies that nudge readers along the consumer journey, setting the stage for conversions.

Read our previous blogs for more integrated campaigns showcases and talk to us to find out how we can help you create engaging advertisements and turn our readers into your consumers.

SPH Magazines was the proud presenting sponsor for FIPP Asia Pacific Conference 2016 and presented two keynotes. Register here for our FIPP keynote extracts and a complimentary white paper on our ABC approach to managing digital disruption.

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