The first use of the term “post-truth” can be found in the late Serbian-American playwright Steve Tesich’s 1992 essay ‘The Nation’– but it wasn’t until over two decades later that we adopted the phrase into our daily lives. Driven by a combination of the 24-hour news cycle, false balance in news reporting, the increasing ubiquity of social media and, of course, the 45th President of the United States’ penchant for the topic, ‘post-truth’ was named by the Oxford English Dictionary as the word of the year in 2016.
Within the publishing industry, this post-truth era of ‘fake news’ brought a core strength of magazine brands to prominence – trust. Towards the end of 2017, Magnetic conducted research with MediaCom, which looked at the at the effects of ‘fake news’ on trust in the media.
Supported by similar research from Kantar, we found that magazine brands scored highly on trust. A key finding from our research was that magazine brands performed strongly on key measures related to trust such as meaning, reliability, ethics and expertise. Magazine brands relationships with their audiences on the aspects that matter most to consumers was underpinned by the fact that 70% of respondents trust magazine media, as opposed to just 30% social media. We also found a “brand rub effect” that could be achieved between an advertiser and media brand.
This is true of digital environments as well as print – in other words: it’s the brand, not the platform, that impacts perceptions of trust.
This finding is absolutely crucial in the evolution of magazine brands. Last year saw titles such as Glamour and trade title Campaign move to bi-annual and monthly editions respectively, and fashion mag InStyle moving to digital-only. The ABC results from late last year underlined this trend quantitatively, reporting a 29.2% increase in circulation for magazine media’s digital editions. Magazine brands are able to expand into new channels without sacrificing the trust they inspire in their audiences.