Digital and social video, especially on platforms including Facebook and Instagram, is top of mind for digital fashion editors as they embark on the new year.
In 2016, the launch of Facebook Live and Instagram Stories, combined with Snapchat, meant there was no shortage of platforms on which publishers could experiment and create videos. And as more and more eyeballs turn to mobile, the rising ad dollars attached to video are proving increasingly appealing for publishers. According to Zenith Media, online video advertising is growing 18 percent year-on-year and is expected to reach $35 billion by 2019. Meanwhile, global social media ad spend is expected to grow 72 percent in the next two years — to $50 billion, up from $29 billion.
We recently asked three digital and print editors — from GQ.com, Glamour and HarpersBazaar.com — to share what they’re prioritizing in terms of social media platforms and coverage areas in 2017. They all agreed video is front and center.
Cindi Leive, editor-in-chief, Glamour
Glamour is growing its video and social staff this year, and is dedicating staff to individual social media platforms, rather than requiring them to work across platforms. “You need specialties,” said editor-in-chief Cindi Leive. “[It’s] the same way that, in print, you wouldn’t ask your health editor to edit your accessories page.”
Video created specifically for social media appears to be paying off for Glamour. In December, it launched a two-minute video titled “Your Period in 2 Minutes,” which featured a model acting out what happens during a period cycle (factoring in hormones, feelings and energy levels), accompanied by music in the background and text and graphics on-screen. It had 76 million views and was Facebook’s top-performing video in early December. Glamour is also expanding its podcast efforts this year; last fall, it launched a podcast titled “Work Wives,” and it’s planning to widen its coverage by way of special beauty, fashion and culture episodes in the months ahead.
While Facebook remains the most important platform for Glamour in terms of traffic and audience building, Leive said differentiating Glamour’s Instagram Stories from its Snapchat content, which it uses primarily for fashion coverage, is a key priority. Aside from social media, Leive said extending virtual and augmented reality efforts is also in the cards. The magazine partnered with the YouCam makeup app during the last New York Fashion Week, which let people try on runway beauty looks through the app’s facial-recognition technology, and it is gearing up to announce another related partnership in a few months.
In terms of content, Glamour is prioritizing using female guest photographers, social media curators, hairstylists and makeup artists from all over the U.S., not just New York and LA. All stories and photographs featured in its February 2017 issue were created by women. The magazine is also moving away from traditional stories like “27 ways you can do [fill-in-the-blank] better” in favor of stories centered on one woman’s perspective on how she dealt with a situation, for example.
Mike Hofman, executive digital director, and Jon Wilde, editor, GQ.com
GQ is putting emphasis on social video for Facebook, Instagram Stories and Twitter — the men’s fashion and lifestyle magazine has seen “unexpectedly strong numbers” on Twitter, according to its executive digital director, Mike Hofman. GQ is also planning to up its use of Facebook Live for weekly shows and series, building on its Facebook Live series centered on the elections, “The Resistance,” which was hosted by political commentator Keith Olbermann. In addition, it will use Instagram Stories to cover live events and build on the daily editorial content that can be found on the site.
Editorially, GQ is putting a bigger focus on lifestyle topics like food and travel, as well as on longer form text articles for GQ.com. “We’re investing in great writing, in reported pieces and in profiles — those are GQ print mainstays, but [in 2016], we found ways to deliver GQ.com-exclusive stories that felt as weighty, fun, intel and relevant as what we do in the magazine,” said GQ.com’s editor, Jon Wilde.
In terms of revenue, video revenue and branded content accounts for a large portion overall (GQ didn’t provide specific numbers), as does social revenue (which the magazine said has grown by almost 900 percent year-on-year, according to internal figures). Conferences and live events are other income generators the magazine wants to grow. They attract social sponsorships for events including GQ’s Men of the Year Awards and the Grammys.
Joyann King, editor, HarpersBazaar.com
“Instagram and Facebook continue to be our focus, both through Stories and Live features,” said King, adding that video and motion, as well as social-only content, will continue to play a key role in HarpersBazaar.com’s fashion and beauty content this year.
Its social-only content includes coverage of fashion industry events and shows via live video on Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat, with a focus on behind-the-scenes coverage at events. Digital feature stories will also be prioritized. “Think gorgeous photography, video and design on-site and across all social platforms.”
Image via Glamour.