Bauer Media might have lost a few print titles in recent times, but Bauer Xcel managing director Carl Hammerschmidt believes it’s a burgeoning time for the business, provided they put digital high on the priority list.
Speaking to B&T, Hammerschmidt said that when it comes to Bauer’s digital strategy, mobile is king, but that doesn’t mean content needs to shrink just because the screen size does.
“A lot of our strategy has been underpinned by understanding that audiences want the right content delivered in the right context so they can use that then to make the right connections, and that’s not just a vertical consideration, it’s about understanding behaviour and it’s about understanding intent also,” Hammerschmidt said.
“All of our digital products are fully responsive, they’re mobile first, they speak to the way consumers behave.
“Consumers trends are moving very quickly, and what we’re finding in our analysis is that the way people are behaving on mobile is counter-intuitive to what the industry perceptions are – that mobile is snackable, that it’s stuff you look at in the coffee queue, or at the bus stop.
“In fact, we’ve been doing a lot of analysis around the long form content we’ve been publishing and some of the data that’s coming back shows levels of engagement with the 800 to 1200 word articles that’s deeper and more engaged than what consumers are on desktop.
“You’re getting 20 swipes per article, 70 per cent of the audience making it to the end of an article, and you’re getting minutes on page or minutes per visit which is higher than on desktop. So what we’re finding is if you deliver the right content in the right context the audiences are responding and they’re responding with really deep engagement.”
Hammerschmidt said Bauer is renowned for its “editorial prowess” and its “iconic and trusted brands”, which has been paramount to attracting partnerships and clients via its Bauer Xcel avenue.
“For us, that plays into our strategic goals to rescale our native offering,” he explained.
“The editorial prowess that the business has, the trust our iconic brands have and the engagement our digital products have got really avail themselves to a strong scale native solution for our partners. It shifts the conversation from spots and dots and display real estate on a screen to highly engaged, very well distributed, integrated content.
“Audiences always come to Bauer and Bauer brands for the stories they can tell, and that’s no different on or off platform, and our metrics on Facebook and through social really show the consumers enjoy that experience as much there as they do on platform.”
Hammerschmidt said Bauer is chasing revenue through a number of avenues, putting digital and mobile first, but also considering how else they engage with consumers.
“The name of the game is really about how do you extend your reach as a business and how do you extend your audience as a business across as many platforms as possible, and it’s about being platform agnostic, and it’s about how you drive the right outcomes for advertisers through the right mediums,” Hammerschmidt said.
“Bauer is not just magazines and digital, it’s also events, and the business is always looking at how we can use all of our customer touch-points to create new revenue streams.”
“It’s not just about traditional content verticals but how we target cohorts and segments across all of our products and all of our portfolio.”
Hammerschmidt also told B&T the future of magazines is looking steady, despite the business having a shaky few months in the print side of the business.
“I think the future of magazines is very strong. For a business with as many strong brands and in as many structurally sound categories as we are, it’s exceptionally strong,” he said.
“And you still can’t go past the fact that 400,000 people a month pay for a copy of Women’s Weekly.
“In the homes category, in the luxury category, we’ve got some really great products and there’s a place for everything. It’s how we as a business balance the right channel at the right time for the consumer.”
But at the end of the day, it all comes down to the buzzword Bauer is putting at the pinnacle of its strategy, and that’s “mobile first”.
“If you’re not paying attention to mobile, you’re not paying attention to the right things,” Hammerschmidt said.
“I think the industry in general has a fair way to go with regards to how we measure cross device and how we provide seamless experiences across multiple screens and multiple devices, and if you’re not paying attention to that as a business then I think you’re missing the point.”
“We’ve made a huge impact in the past two years with regards to the amount of activity that’s gone on more broadly in the competitor set, new launches, new investments, acquisitions, and I think it’ll increasingly become a more competitive and more challenging environment and I think we’re really well placed to succeed in that.”