Popular Science puts the 'whiz bang' into its digital marketing programs.
Popular Science, published by the Stockholm, Sweden-based Bonnier Group, is the world’s largest science and technology magazine, with a circulation of 1.3 million and a total audience of 7 million readers monthly. Its Web site, PopSci.com gets 550,000 to 650,000 unique visitors a month, and 6 million to 8 million page views.
The magazine also is no stranger to Web 2.0 technologies and the social marketing space. For example, last year it launched PPX, the Popular Science Predictions Exchange, where visitors place virtual bets on what the next innovations in technology, the environment and science will be. The system is based on the ability of wagers to predict the future.
Popular Science also regularly uses Web 2.0 technologies to both acquire customers and retain them. For example, last summer it began using AdPerk, an information network that rewards consumers with a free annual subscription after they view online videos from marketers or advertisers.
AdPerk places banners on PopSci’s homepage, offering users free or reduced-price issues or subscriptions in exchange for watching short videos. Visitors who click the banners are taken to the AdPerk platform, where they can select the ads they wish to view. The system generated 7,256 Popular Science subscriptions in the first two months of its partnership, between Aug. 6 and Oct. 6 of last year.
eM+C spoke to Gregg Hano, publisher of Popular Science, to learn more about the science it uses to market its products and services.
Gregg Hano: We wanted to test new media and see if that testing would result in new subscribers to the magazine that renew. AdPerk gave us the opportunity to test online whether or not people liked the content that they saw, and whether or not they would renew in good faith. This we would learn after a number of years.
We [also] hoped would help us reach a new, younger audience, as opposed to the audience that we traditionally reach through direct mail and other sources. The average age of the PopSci reader, according to [market research firm Mediamark Research & Intelligence] is 44, but we’d [like] to have 34-year-olds or 24-year-olds [also] reading the magazine.
GH: We have our five-minute project videos, where our editors are doing what we think are kitschy and fun projects that you can do at home. We know how regularly they are watched, and that they are being watched by tons of PopSci.com visitors, and we feel they are so successful in driving traffic and incremental page views that we are going to go ahead and do more of those.
In general, we think the platform of video on PopSci.com and the Internet is pretty damn smart. One of the things that all of us in the Web space are trying to do is develop content that is engaging to individuals and that they will come back to over and over and over. We want them to visit PopSci.com two, three, fours times a week. We want them to go deeply into different articles and different sections of the Web site, and we want them to see an awful lot of page views so they can get the content they need and we can monetize it by selling ads. Right now we feel it is smart, it’s the right thing to do for the audience, and we like it. So we’re going to keep doing it.
GH: [In January] we completely [relaunched] PopSci.com. It’s very, very heavy on blogs, on social networking, on video, on community, and it’s all about making sure we connect with everybody we can find who is interested in the subject matter that we cover. We are very excited about it, and we think it is going to introduce PopSci.com to a lot of new visitors.