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B2B Readers Want Their Print and Digital, Too!



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While consumers are slowing giving up their magazine subscriptions in favor of the web, people are still turning to print magazines for their business needs.

According to a survey by ABM, 96% of media users still read trade magazines to keep up on what’s happening in their industry. 45% said they read a print magazine at least weekly. Of course, the numbers for web users were even higher but 74% said they go back and forth between traditional print and digital media.

Above all, B2B readers are looking for practical information they can use to run their business and make buying decisions. In addition to print and the web, 93% said they read information provided by product manufacturers, 92% rely on e-newsletters and 80% turn to conferences and trade shows to help keep them up-to-date.

Oddly, even though readers are still reading, marketers are moving away from placing ads in print magazines and are moving toward digital – maybe faster than the publishers themselves.

Fully 32 percent of marketers expect to actually decrease their print budget in the coming 12 months; only 11 percent expect to spend more on print. In comparison, albeit starting from a small total spend, 43 percent of marketers expect to increase their spending on mobile advertising. Moreover, 41 percent of marketers also plan to boost e-newsletter advertising – and those email messages are increasingly read on mobile devices.

Almost all of the print publishers who responded say they offer a digital version of their magazine but two-thirds are simply reproducing the print content in digital form. That’s a waste. Digital should be interactive. It should offer more than the reader can find by flipping pages. It should include videos and live links for more information and other elements that require the reader to touch the screen.

Right now, 70% of business readers have used mobile to access industry information. But ABM wanted to know what it would take to increase their mobile engagement:

  • 75 % wanted optimized version of b-to-b websites that are easily viewed and navigated on a smartphone or tablet.
  • 73% asked for free digital versions of magazines.
  • 63% want publishers to make existing digital magazines more valuable by offering interactive features like videos, slideshows, audio clips and more.
  • 59% wanted more unique content in digital magazines that doesn’t exist in the printed version.
  • 45% said putting publications online as apps on Apple’s Newsstand or other leading online newsstands

Look at those high percentages. Clearly, B2B publishers are missing the boat on digital.

Here’s an even bigger reason to polish up your digital content: “87% of the heavy mobile group engage with the trade press in print, online, or digitally once per day; only 47% of non-mobiles do so.”

If you provide innovative, interactive B2B content that is accessible on a mobile device, you’ll have industry influencers accessing your magazine on a daily basis. From the sound of it, you might even be able to charge them for the privilege.

Are you making wave in B2B publishing? We’d like to hear about it. Leave us a comment below and tell us about your work in this area.