Even the most highly branded magazines, like Forbes and TV Guide see their online traffic dwarfed by that of “media interlopers” like Yahoo! and MySpace, Eileen Naughton, Google’s director of media platforms, said today at AMC.
“Search is a proxy for a brand’s vitality,” Google media platforms director Eileen Naughton asserted to a roomful of magazine executives at AMC today in Boca Raton. “Search is a core consumer behavior that defines our times; it’s an activity at the essence of what it is to be human,” she said in her keynote talk entitled “Insights From Google,” urging the content providers in the room to make their material as accessible as possible to users so magazines might benefit from the kind of online popularity driving tens of thousands of users to younger brands such as Facebook, Google and Yahoo!. “Newer entrants to the media landscape are quite disruptive to the media status quo,” Naughton said. But why?
“Tech companies now sit squarely in the middle of the media space,” she said, “and these media interlopers are innovating the ways advertising is targeted, measured, bought, priced and sold.” But, striking a brighter note, she pointed out that “brands do matter on the Web.” Illustrating just how, she borrowed “the long tail” meme from Wired‘s Chris Anderson, and showed a slide that put online behemoths like Yahoo!, Google, MySpace and FaceBook at the head, and some of the magazine world’s strongest brands — People and TV Guide among them — along the end of the tail. The key to success for magazines, Naughton said, was for mag execs to figure out how they can “get in on the head of the tail.”
One way to do this is through partnering, an approach advocated by many of AMC’s speakers versed in new media, with Naughton suggesting that magazine editors be “atomizing their content” as much as possible to get it placed across a variety of different mediums — mobile, social networking sites, video sites and more. “Make sure search engines can find your stuff,” she urged. “Don’t put it behind paid walls, don’t put it on lockdown. Tag your story archives, photos, video clips and make them freely available.”