Canadian Magazine Industry News
25 July 2012,     TORONTO
New index ranks Canadian magazines by Twitter followers
We're used to seeing magazines ranked by circulation, or print readership, or by revenue (our next Top 50 list by revenue is coming soon), but Gary Campbell noticed something was missing.

Campbell, a digital consultant and industry veteran previously with St. Joseph Media, scanned PMB data and pulled winners from the National Magazine Awards (of which he is a board member) to form a list of top titles. Then he ranked them — based on Twitter followers.

What's interesting, he found, is that the most popular magazine brands don't necessarily have the top Twitter followings. "Some of the top 20 are not traditional household names," he said. Meanwhile, other well-known titles, such as Reader's Digest or Canadian Geographic, have relatively small Twitter followings, he observed.

Topping his Twitter list is Fashion, with a whopping 352,079 followers, followed closely by Today's Parent with 324,234. But Campbell sheds some light on those numbers in a commentary about his list: "As early adopters, Fashion magazine and Best Health (with 147,418 followers) were selected by Twitter staff (with no involvement from the publications) to appear in a list of 'suggested people to follow' that was displayed to new users in Canada."

At the bottom end of the list is MoneySense with 6,502 followers and Maisonneuve (which just won NMA's magazine of the year title) with 4,890 followers. Hello! Canada previously held a spot, but was bumped off the list when the accidentally omitted Avenue was added along with its 6,602 Tweeps. Some other magazines have contacted Campbell and he has made the revisions, but the list is likely to remain how it is now, he said.

The index is meant to focus on consumer mags only, with Quill&Quire making the list because it's a "hybrid" — it is directed at the book industry and consumers, said Campbell.

"For me the specific rankings of the magazines were less important than the trends, such as the incredible split from the top of the list from the bottom," he said. "Also some of the clustering; all of the Toronto city magazines are near the top."

The list appears on Campbell's new blog called Four Internets, which launched a matter of days ago. "The blog is a place to do some long-form thinking about how magazines are changing in the digital age," explained Campbell. "The Twitter index has had an amazing response. I've probably had 50 emails about it."

It's not going to be a weekly or monthly list; semi-annually or annually is more realistic, he said. However there could be another list soon focusing on Facebook rankings, he added.

"Magazines are quick to quote their PMB numbers, and their circulation numbers, and this is a very useful metric for magazines to weigh themselves against each other," explained Campbell, noting PMB numbers are less relevant to digital players in the industry. "This is a way of re-weighting magazines using a different metric."

Check out the full Twitter Magazine Index here.
— Jeff Hayward
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