Digital Magazine Publishing Trends in 2023

Robot working at computer desk with receipt to smartphoneThe digital publishing landscape is dynamic and rapidly changing, and the trends that we have seen transform the industry in the past five years are likely to continue to shape the industry in the coming years. Moving from a physical publication, to a digital replication in a fixed format, to a truly responsive digital publication is the path most publishers are taking, but with new technologies and trends appearing, what else should publishers be doing in 2023? 

This article dives into the top 5 trends emerging in 2023 for digital publishers. 

Artificial Intelligence is here

The advancements of AI over the past 5 years is astounding.  We have known for a number of years that Google is heavily reliant on using AI for its search algorithms.  It is so good that it is able to analyze content and penalize any content that it deems advertorial in nature. Today marketing technologists are harnessing that power of imitating human abilities of learning and reasoning to create the next level of technological disruptions in digital marketing. 

What will make it more mainstream is that this new age tech can be acquired at relative low and economical rates. It isn’t just the blue chips that are using it, through their web services division, Google and Amazon have opened AI to the masses on a pay by play basis. Machine learning is probably the most popular area of AI.  With deep learning and natural language processing abilities we can transform how consumers engage with our content more effectively.  Here are six examples of this:

1. The AI writer

Obviously the core area of interest for publishers is whether AI can help generate content articles of value for your audience.  While creating articles from scratch is still a few years off in my opinion there are many tools on the market today that can help make the process a lot easier. For example, finding quotes, stats, matching imagery to your article or even creating drafts or starting notes.

2. One to one magazine experiences through personalization 

Machine learning studies the patterns of a user’s engagement and suggests articles that it believes are more suited to their individual tastes.  This will increase engagement and ROI dramatically. This isn’t new,  Amazon has been using fuzzy logic for decades but Machine learning AI tools are now available that make this tech accessible to all.

3. Translation

Over the last number of years the advancement in AI translational abilities have been so powerful that many companies are heavily reliant on tools such as Google Translate, not only for content, but user engagement through chat experiences or email campaigns. While the results are not 100% yet, they are getting closer and more accepted by other localized audiences. 

4. Accessibility 

ADA compliance is vital from a legal compliance perspective but traditionally requires a lot of oversight to ensure everything is done properly.  It is not enough to have your content in a responsive framework, everything has to be tagged and all colors and UI inspected.  A slow and complex task for an individual. Instantaneous for AI.

5. Content housekeeping

What takes equally as much time as creating the content  is the auto-tagging classification, formatting, structuring and grammatically checking of content before it is published.  

6. SEO 

There is no point in creating great content if nobody sees it.  Search Engine Optimization  is a critical component of any digital marketing strategy but it normally requires a resource other than the content creator using a SEM engineer or web master.  Using deep learning SEO integration and adherence can be automated and with relative ease and accuracy.

Compliance Compliance Compliance!!!!

About 10 years ago every website had to undergo a rapid redesign when google announce that it was giving preference to websites that were mobile centric which meant that if your website content was not presented inside a responsive framework and offered the same rich experience to mobile audience that they did to desktop audiences, they would be penalized. This resulted in the rise of content management systems (CMS) and now 99% of all websites are built within a CMS.  

This transition made content a lot more accessible to people with disabilities and to build on that governments introduced legislation that required government agencies and private companies to ensure that their content was equally accessible to people with disabilities.  This doesn’t just mean ensuring that your content is in a responsive framework, but all content that is added to the site is also compliant like ensuring everything is tagged correctly and scannable by accessibility readers.  This has become all the more important over the last couple of years as lawsuits against commercial entities for non-compliance with ADA legalization by individuals has increased over 1000%.

To read more on this topic check out the risks of not being ADA compliant  article on our blog.

Don’t just talk, engage!

Printing a well designed and content rich publication isn’t enough anymore for today’s audience.  For over 17 years publications have been creating digital editions of their print publications.  Digital replications of print publications will always continue to service a particular segment, for example, showcasing the print magazine to potential advertisers or subscribers outside the standard distribution network. But for content centric marketers who want the freedom to promote and disperse their publications over as broad a digital landscape as possible, this will mean that they need to not only make sure that their content conforms to the landscapes of these new mediums but also that the publications are engaging and interactive in these new formats. 

Publishers need to break through the print glass ceiling and absorb the interactive toolkits that web base publishers use to engage with their audiences.  Examples are:

  • Animations and transitions to bring content to life
  • Embedded video and audio content
  • Forms, polls and surveys
  • Charts, calculators
  • Third party widgets. 

People want valuable content, delivered.

As mentioned previously, ensuring your content offers value is critical when publishing online.  You will get penalized from an SEM perspective but in a world where more content has been created in the last 5 years than ever before, you need to look at new approaches to make your content stand out from the horde. With daily waves of mountains of fresh content, users are spending less time looking for your content so you need to deliver it directly to them, for example via email, newsletters etc.

But how can you stand out from the waves of emails that a reader receives each day?  The first thing that I do every morning when I get into the office is I look at my emails.  I look at the title, subject line and perhaps first line and then I start deleting.  I will delete about 95% of my emails everyday as most of it is advertorial in its nature and provides little relevant value to me.   I don’t have the time to review each pitch email in its entirety, so the ones that do survive the delete button are the ones that provide value up front.

Think academically about the content that you create.  All companies have models of their sweet spot customers and have good insight into their roles and needs.  So when creating content, create transparent content that offers value to your audience without any ask. Not all content is free, I understand that.  Some publishers make the core of their revenue from paywall subscriptions.  However, all of these platforms also have free and valuable content that acts as a subtle promotion of their brand and their paid service. 

Making your experience device centric is an absolute must

Traditional fixed layout publications will always have a place for showcasing the digital version of the physical publication.  Digital replications are nearly 20 years old and are here to stay, but in my opinion, the core use of this technology is for showcasing the publication to potential advertisers and subscribers who are outside of the standard distribution networks, and not for readers to engage and interact with your content online. 

It is amazing that after 20 years, digital replications are still so popular and it proves, in my opinion, that readers enjoy the magazine experience medium of consuming content.  They enjoy flipping through the pages.  They understand where they are within the experience at all times and how to navigate to where they want to go. Magazine experiences are more encapsulating and less distracting than traditional websites.  Marketers love magazine experiences as it allows them to easily add content packages on top of existing content management systems and put extra work dependencies onto webmasters.

So magazines are still a proven medium for promoting content, but where many of them fall short is that the publications are often fixed layout publications which means that it forces the readers to zoom in and pan left and right just to read a sentence.  It is critical, when offering your content in a magazine, that the experience conforms to the medium or device in which the reader chooses to consume it.  

There is a rule in design that 99.999999999% of people spend all of their time on other peoples websites so they have a pre-conformed idea of how content can be consumed.  If your content does not conform then it is viewed as broken.  For example, on mobile devices, when reading an article the reader scrolls vertically and wipes left or right to move to another article. If your content does not conform to this expected experience then it is deemed broken.  Ensure that your content is responsive. 

Key Takeaways

In conclusion,  the advancements of technology continue to drive innovation in the digital publishing sphere.  AI, machine learning generators will assist more and more publishers in creating richer content faster, but publishers must also be aware of the shifting landscape.  Fixed layout content experiences are not what today’s audience needs.  The content needs to be engaging, interactive, responsive and compliant to stand out to today’s readers. If you haven’t done so already you must evolve to stay visible and relevant. 

About Experios

Experios is 3D Issue’s all new Content Experience platform that allows you to build both internal communications and external content easily, while implementing your company branding. You can create annual reports, newsletters and brochures for your employees as well as your customers. Experios contains a full tracking and analytics package that can link to your Google Analytics so you can always measure the success of your digital content. You can get started with Experios for free today, schedule a demo or start your free trial.