There’s been some movement in the rankings in the second annual Digital IQ Index study on the magazine industry from market research firm L2, which measures digital strategy execution among 80 magazine brands.
TIME, which last year ranked as the number-one brand executing across digital, social and mobile platforms, was knocked off the top spot by Wired, which this year was the only brand to achieve "Genius" status.
The study has traditionally measured brand competence across website, digital marketing, social media and mobile platforms. But this year, the methodology was expanded to include tablets. Each brand is given a point value based on how well content, marketing, engagement and advertising tactics are deployed within and across the five segments.
Wired, for example, is lauded for its early-mover mentality on tablets and the way content is deployed and shared among different platforms. "Wired maintains a best-in-class digital edition for iPad, featuring embedded social sharing of feature articles, highly varied examples of interactive exhibits, and extensive links between app content and Web content," says the report. "In the past year, this experience has been ported to Nook, Kindle, and Android tablets. Wired has also acquired 1.4 million followers on Google+ and 100,000 followers on Instagram."
TIME bumped down to the sixth-ranked brand, but Time Inc., Condé Nast, and Hearst dominated the top ten:
2. The New Yorker
3. Entertainment Weekly and Glamour (tie)
5. Better Homes and Gardens
9. Sports Illustrated
10. Cosmopolitan, Forbes, People, The Economist (tie)
Merely having a presence on the various digital platforms is a positive step, but the study also takes into account how well the brands, advertisers and audience are leveraged and engaged across the platforms.
One finding, for example, notes that publishers and advertisers have yet to fully take advantage of mobile. According to the study, 80 percent of digital editions feature ads that link to external sites, only 17 percent of ads differ from their print counterparts.
Pinterest has commanded the highest launch rate for brands since last year’s report. In 2011, there were 3 brands that counted the social platform as one of the top eight referral sources. This year, that metric has jumped to 30 brands. Meanwhile, Facebook is being underleveraged for engagement, the report concludes. While the Facebook audience for brands tends to be the largest among the platforms, engagement tactics such as fan postings, polling, contests and interactive apps are lagging.
Tellingly, with all the talk and activity around integrated marketing, few brands appear to be truly executing on it, says the report. While factors not necessarily in the control of publishers may be at play here, the report does note that only 15 percent of brands are extending advertising programs across two or more digital platforms. Less than half of them promote an advertiser on any digital property beyond the website or tablet edition. "In sum, magazines are failing to deliver on a primary ask of their advertisers—integrated digital campaigns," concludes L2 founder Scott Galloway.
While Wired was the only brand out of the 80 to receive a Genius-level ranking, other rankings in the study are Gifted, Average, Challenged and Feeble, which included 28, 36, 11 and 4 brands respectively.
For more on the study, click here.