Personalized Content

Personalizing Magazine Content


Content in digital magazines has the ability to reach out and connect with a reader in ways print magazines never could. Print magazines were static and fixed – incapable of reacting to the reader. Digital magazines, with the magic of technology and some creative thinking can interact with a reader and influence them in ways that form such strong emotional bonds that the reader is completely immersed in the story he is reading.

Personalization of content is technologically feasible today. Based on the profile of a reader, the nature and flow of the magazine can change. The colour scheme, accents and other small elements of the user experience can be modified to better suit the interests of the reader. There can be different interactions, different packaging of content and possibly, an entirely different experience that can be delivered.

Consider the case of a men’s lifestyle magazine. It has a varied audience ranging from skateboarders to entrepreneurs to artists. Expecting the same reading experience to satisfy all readers is a tall order. Instead, if the magazine can accurately hypothesise the preferences of the reader (or by collecting the information), the experience can be modified to suit their tastes. Some of the possible changes are:

  1. Modifying the colours to suit the reader’s personal preferences – bright colours for young and adventurous and blues and grays for the serious
  2. Modifying the interaction icons to represent the ‘main attribute’ of each type of reader – unique shapes for the experimental ones and skeumorphisms for the majority
  3. Changing the interactions and the user experience to be quick and exciting for a young and edgy reader and smooth and subtle for a elderly man
    Altering the grouping and order of content to match the reader’s interests. Perhaps the content could be loaded in real time!
  4. Tailoring the advertisements based on the profile of the reader – expensive watches for the successful businessman vs. fitness bands for the athletic man.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. As access to mobile internet becomes ubiquitous and data charges drop, there will be the opportunity to personalise the content for a target demographic of ‘one’. Till then, editors and publishers can rely on a method of categorisation prevalent in internet marketing – user personas.

A Note on User Personas

User personas are fictitious characters who represent a reader in any demographic cohort. Each ‘bucket’ of categorisation will have a fictitious persona created and developed extensively to give deep insights in to the nature of the demographic segments. These use of ‘user personas’ has proven to be a successful and dependable method of segmentation and personalisation.

Have you attempted anything similar in your magazines? Do let us know in the comments.

This article was written on 19 Jan , 2015.  

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