The Digital Challenge of Audience Construction
This chapter examines how the transformations associated with digitization are reshaping the ways in which publishers of women's magazines think about readership by focusing on their constructions of audiences. Editors and publishers of women's magazines have long targeted narrowly defined segments of the female populace based upon demographic factors (age, household income, marital status, educational level, and sometimes even race) as well as lifestyle traits and behaviors. They draw upon surveys and other measurement techniques to understand these segments and craft detailed profiles of their “ideal reader.” This chapter considers women's magazines' shape-shifting approaches to audiences, particularly between producers for the print and digital products. It discusses the magazine industry's progress in terms of providing advertisers with more precise and timely audience metrics, as well as magazines' understanding of audience demographics. It also explores recent developments in online tracking and consumer analytics and how they have inspired a new series of approaches to researching media audiences, including search engine optimization, content syndication and aggregation, and web traffic generation.
Keywords: digitization, women's magazines, readership, audience metrics, audience demographics, consumer analytics, audiences, search engine optimization, content syndication, constructions of audiences
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